The success of any Bible study or small group program depends heavily on the Bible study leader. Maybe you lead a group. Maybe you’re responsible for finding and training leaders. I’ve done it all – and sometimes all at the same time! Because a group leader will influence the group members, let’s do everything we can to be as effective as possible.
Over the years, I’ve noticed some common attributes among leaders who make a positive spiritual impact on their group members. Although not an exhaustive list, these characteristics are ones all leaders can work to incorporate into their small group ministry.
7 Characteristics of an Effective Bible Study Leader
- We are students – Leaders don’t have to know everything about the Bible, but we do need to be constantly learning. Do your best to study the lesson’s passage and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
- We are disciples – Our students need leaders they can follow. Like Paul, I want to be able to say: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). It’s easy to get lazy in our own discipleship, but we can be proactive by enlisting a mentor or accountability partner who will pray for us and ask us the hard questions. Let’s set a godly example for our groups in prayer, spiritual growth, holiness, and commitment to the body of Christ.
- We are transparent – Share honestly from your own life and spiritual journey. A “perfect” leader discourages the group members. A leader who talks about her own struggles with life and faith connects with the women and encourages them to open up too! (See Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.)
- We are passionate – Passion for God’s Word and work is contagious. Don’t be afraid to show some excitement over what God is teaching you and about what He has been doing around you. Your spark will start a fire!
- We are jealous – Paul had the attitude of a mother bear when it came to his spiritual children (2 Corinthians 11:2-6). As leaders and teachers of God’s Word, let’s diligently protect their hearts and minds against false teaching. Don’t’ be afraid to stand firm for the truth.
- We are investors – Each student has individual needs. Good leaders take time to know the students and their needs. Connect with them outside of class. Encourage them with calls, emails, and Facebook messages. Pray for them and let them know you’re praying for them.
- We are reproducers – Effective leaders are always looking for and developing new leaders. Your women’s ministry, small group program, or ministry can have strong leadership now and in the future through purposeful leadership development. See “The 5 M Plan of Leadership Development” for more information.
Which of these characteristics do you struggle with most? Which characteristic have you seen make a positive difference in a group?