Editor's Note: Last week, we told you about the Q Place Day of Prayer. Our call for your prayer requests has generated a huge response. We are excited to lift you up in prayer on August 30, 2017. If you still have prayer requests you want to submit, send them our way.
Jim Egli, a small groups pastor in Urbana, IL, wanted to find out what makes the greatest difference in the growth of a small group. In fact, Egli took on this topic as Ph.D. research, surveying more than 3,000 small group leaders in more than 200 churches.
After asking these leaders hundreds of questions about group dynamics, leadership behaviors, and group meetings, Egli found that “the highest correlations to small-group health and growth were to the unseen dimensions of a group leader’s relationship with God.” The questions that keyed into that relationship—to put it simply—were all about prayer.
In his article “A Small-Group Leader’s Most Important Job,” Egli writes:
Most leaders reported spending significantly more time preparing their lesson than they did praying for their meeting. They didn't realize that the time spent preparing their lesson or questions makes little difference, while time spent praying for their members and their meeting makes a big difference. Apparently things depend more on God than on you. Or, put another way, it's more important to prepare your heart than it is to prepare your notes.
The impact was especially dramatic in relation to evangelistic effectiveness.
Leaders with a strong prayer life have groups that, on average, have more than four times the evangelistic impact as groups led by leaders with a weak prayer life.
Jim Egli’s article is summarized in his short blog 4 Reasons Why Praying Leaders Have Faster Growing Groups, a must read for any small group facilitator. Here’s the short list of reasons Egli thinks that praying leaders have more magnetic groups:
- God answers prayer.
- Praying leaders are compassionate.
- God directs praying leaders.
- Praying leaders invite God’s presence.
As initiators of small groups for seekers, this information is powerful for us! Active prayer and dependence on God is essential for us to see our friends, neighbors, or co-workers come to know God as revealed in the Bible.
What if we take the challenge that Egli gives: For the next three meetings, put more time into praying for group members and inviting God to work than we put into going through the study questions. And then? Follow God’s lead!
Q Place editor