By Allen White
I am going to give you an honest answer. It’s a very direct answer, but it’s the correct answer. The answer is stop doing it for them. As long as you continue to allow your group to depend on you to host the group, you will host the group. If you give them the option, the group will always default to the easiest way: let the leader do it.
There are many good reasons to allow members to host the group. You know that members will take more ownership of the group with the responsibility of hosting. They will feel a better sense of belonging. There are potential leaders who need to have the experience of hosting the group. It could be their first step toward leading a group themselves. Maybe you’re just tired of vacuuming and straightening up right before the meeting. These are all legitimate reasons to let your group members host.
You’re the group leader. You’re not the group parent. Your members should sign up to bring the refreshments, host the group in their home, and facilitate the discussion. But, as long as you give them the option to stay at your house, eat your food, and let you do everything, they will. If you’re the parent and your 40 year old son is still living in his bedroom, there’s a problem.
In Exodus 18, Jethro had a conversation with Moses. He told Moses that doing everything for the people wasn’t good. Why did Jethro think that it wasn’t good? Because Moses’ wife and children left Moses’ home and were living with Jethro (Exodus 18:2-4). Moses gave his reasons for doing the work by himself: (1) I’m the only one that can do it and (2) the people like coming to me. You have to wonder how much Moses also liked doing for the people and having them come to him. Jethro gave Moses a strategy of how to lead without having to bear all of the responsibility himself. Moses delegated responsibility to other people, while overseeing the whole nation.
You don’t have a nation to look over, but you do have a group to lead. Leadership is not providing everything for everyone and doing everything for them. Leadership is making sure that things get done. In the process, you are actually developing new leaders.
So, how do you get your leaders to host? Tell them that you aren’t going to host the group in your home any more. You don’t need to tell them all of the reasons why. In fact, if you do, you’re probably just giving them excuses for why they can’t do it either. Affirm your group. Let them know that you love them. Let them know that they’re important to you. Then, let them know that you can’t host any more. Even if the reason that you can’t host anymore is that your members should, that is reason enough.
Once you’ve announced that you can no longer host, then ask the group where you will be meeting next week. You may permanently move the group to another member’s home or you might rotate the group to different people’s homes. Once meeting at your home is off the table, your group will figure out where else to meet.
It might seem easier to do things yourself, but that doesn’t mean it’s better to do it yourself.
Do you have a Small Group question? Contact Allen White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Allen White