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Effective small group ministry makes the church experience more personal and meaningful. It gives people the chance to forge connections and grow spiritually in ways that bigger congregations don’t allow. Here are five tips for being a better small ministry leader.

Let God Lead

You might be the earthly leader, but God is the one who ultimately knows what’s best. Pray about what the group should focus on. Let go of your ideas and plans, and let God’s will direct you. God is aware of the trials and problems that each person faces — even the hidden issues they don’t reveal to anyone else. Trust that God will guide you.

Grow Your Faith

If you don’t attend to your spiritual well-being, how can you help others with theirs? Spend time reading your Bible and connecting with God’s word. Apply Biblical principles to your life — you can’t guide others if you’re on the wrong path yourself. Attend church and seek out leaders who can mentor you. Be sure to set aside enough quiet time to spend in prayer.

Have a Theme for Each Meeting

This could mean concentrating on a particular topic. It could mean studying a verse or passage from the Bible. Try to keep meetings as on topic as possible by redirecting conversations if they go too far astray. However, listen closely to what each person is saying. What seems beyond the scope of your topic might reveal a deeper concern that needs addressed one-on-one.

Add Variety to Your Meetings

There are many ways to worship God, and your small ministry group will be more fulfilling if you incorporate a mix of activities. In addition to prayer, add worship music. Since not everyone is comfortable performing in front of others, you can play recorded music and allow people to sing or hum along as they wish. You can read passages from the Bible or watch ministry-friendly TV shows and movies.

Get to Know the Members 

What are their needs? What are the challenges they face? By knowing each member on a more 0personal basis, you’ll be able to tailor group activities and lessons to their particular needs.