Small Groups for Quiet People: The Journey from Quiet Individual to Small-Group Leader
Are there quiet members in your congregation who have a passion for Jesus? You may think, “They would be wonderful small-group leaders, but I don’t think they would do it.” The members may not see themselves as leaders, but God plans to further His kingdom through them.
Arlene is an example of a quiet disciple, who, after many years, joined a small group. As she faithfully studied the chapters and scriptures and participated in group discussions, her love for Jesus blossomed, as did her confidence in talking about God’s message of love and grace. With the encouragement and support of her small-group leaders, her faithfulness prompted her to co-lead a small group.
Arlene noticed the quiet members in the congregation. The Holy Spirit prompted her to speak with them individually and invite them to join a “small group for quiet people.” As they studied Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, they learned about God’s principles in a trusted community. All of them were able to talk since no one dominated their conversations.
Arlene is currently leading “A Disciple’s Path” small group. She uses her art background to lead creative scripture art workshops.
Here are three ways that clergy can partner with laity to create robust small-group communities.
1. Recognize the gifts of each person
1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (ESV). Every gift is valuable to God.
2. Do not judge success by numbers
Zechariah 4:10a (NLT) says,” Do not despise these small beginnings for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” Numbers do not measure success. You honor God by setting aside your time to gather in his name.
3. Be creative in small group formation
Matthew 5:16 (ESV) says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Think outside the box as Arlene did. Notice a need and pray to God for guidance.
God has blessed each person with gifts, talents, and a unique set of experiences. Encourage people to use their gifts for the glory of God and His kingdom. Sometimes a personal invitation and a faithful heart can make all the difference.
Questions to ponder:
- Does everyone in your small group speak?
- Have you thought of having quiet-people-focused small groups?
- What do you do when you notice quiet people are not speaking in small groups?
- How might you encourage all to share?
- Do you have a path to encourage people to participate in small groups, then equip them to lead when they are ready?
Mindy is a layperson from the Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church. She is a small-group leader and small-group co-coordinator.
 Verses marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
 Verses marked NLT are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.