I remember my first track meet. I was running hurdles. It was what I wanted to do, planned to do, and qualified for. But, until the guy with bull horn announced that the race was about to start, it was all theoretical. When he called us to the track, things got real for me. I took my position behind the starting line and dug my cleats into the rubberized road. It felt like hours before the gunshot launched us into the race.
Starting a LifeGroup felt a lot like that. It was something I wanted to do, planned to do, and qualified for. I just didn’t know when it would start. Until the moment my pastor announced the starting date, it was all theoretical. I remember saying to my friend the very thing that I said to myself at that first track meet. “It just got real.”
The launch date was still three months away. There was no turning back now. It was really happening. So, I went to work. I wanted to be prepared. No one intentionally competes in a track meet without getting ready. I needed to have some ducks in order—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
For me, LifeGroup got started before it got started. Here are five things that I did before LifeGroup launched. I encourage all new LifeGroup leaders to do the same.
#1 – Pray fiercely.
This is not a typo. We should pray fervently, that is, with passionate intensity. But, I kicked it up a notch. I wasn’t just passionate, I was desperately passionate. I got aggressive with prayer. I was like a starving man in search of food. Folks, when shepherding a group of souls, we truly are starving men in search for God’s food. We need His food or we die. So get after it.
#2 – Journal relentlessly.
Listen, during the days leading up to the launch, your blood is pumping twice as fast. Your creative juices are flowing at a rapid pace, and if you are not careful, the river will carry your ideas right passed you. You have to jot it all down. Get it on paper so you can see it, examine it, and pray over it. It might be God speaking to you.
#3 – Put it in stone. Sorta.
Really, nothing’s in stone with God except His commandments. The Spirit can change your path at any moment. However, this does not mean you can’t make any plans. You can. You should. When I had some things prayed up and journaled down (and was confident about them), I committed them to reality. You should do the same. Don’t worry, God will change it up if He wants.
#4 – Hurry up and wait.
This was a huge challenge for me. I have a tendency to take the first step without God and making a mess of things. I’m impatient. I want to execute. I see no reason in postponing. But God who is infinite works things out in His timing. Don’t rush anything. Allow prayer and time to knead your plans and ideas. There are usually wrinkles to be ironed out anyways.
#5 – Be faithful.
If you do nothing else, be faithful. God is not primarily interested in your abilities nor your ideas. He wants faithfulness. It cannot be stressed enough. Trust God. Trust Him for your needs as well as your satisfaction. Draw near and stay near to Him. Obey His commands. Sit at His feet. Tend to your family, your job, your usual responsibilities to His glory.
So there it is. Before you get started, get started. Be prepared for your LifeGroup. Take it serious. You are dealing with souls.