At Willow Creek’s Small group conference several years ago, Bill Donahue, executive director of Small Group Ministries for the Willow Creek Association, challenged group leaders to recognize that real groups have real people in them.
He says that every group is composed of idealist, skeptics, realists, agitators, and followers. Groups are composed of non-attenders, regular attenders, sporadic attenders, irregular attenders, and prospects. The people in the groups and classes come from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Preconceived notions are easy to formulate. I overheard a History professor in college, make a statement about me, “He is lots smarter than he acts.” The challenge is to see members as Jesus sees them. In John 13:35, Jesus states, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We are to accept one another just as Christ accepts us.
Real people have real potential. Jesus sees the potential in every person. Do we see the potential in every member of our class or group? Donahue exclaimed that people’s potential would be either hindered by the labels that a leader gives them or unleashed by the love the leader demonstrates.
Groups of every kind are made up of real people. Think about your group or class…do you know and see the potential of every participant. Each one was created in God’s image and has unbelievable potential.