Iron sharpens iron is a book by Orlando Saer that highlights on the principles required for a church leader or organization. It is mainly a leadership book that is aimed at guiding and mentoring leaders who aspire to make impacts in their groups whether small or big. The book is based on biblical principals and its title derived from a scripture in the bible. This mainly insists on the fact that people need to empower each other. A church leaders needs to have the ability to learn from the others, from their experiences, whether good or bad and to accept correction. The book is composed of six chapters each with exclusive topics that will help nurture people as the as they get the best out of a leader. The book is recommended for not only church and aspiring church leaders but is helpful for any person who cherishes leadership virtues.
Leading a small group is one of the most challenging things that a leader can find themselves. This is because of the strategies that need to be employed to ensure the group gets what they desire as well as grow the group. One of the evidence that a group will experience to signify growth is increase. This is not only an increase in number but also in their spiritual life. The leader usually face the challenge of ensuring that he or she integrates the lessons to suit the needs of the people who may be having different needs and expectations. This requires the leader to study and know what each individual desires to achieve from the group so that they are changed by every activity. It may be easy to gather people in a house of a place just to be edified by the word. It is however quite a challenge to satisfy the physical and spiritual needs of such people and hence making them desire to have more.
It has always been assumed that a small group is easy to manage because of its size; however, this may be challenging just to retain and increase the numbers as well as make them feel at ease. The book emphasize on the need of having such a small group as it ensures that personal spiritual needs of the members are met. Having a small group enables the leader to have a closer fellowship with the members and hence being able to know where they have issues. It is important for the leader to understand the spiritual levels of the members for effective management. At times, a member may feel intimidated or demoralized when he realizes that he is not at the same level with other members. This are some of the issues that the leader will need to look out for and ensure that the members, irrespective of their different levels, feel accommodated in the group.
Being a leader does not necessarily mean that the person is endowed with all scripture knowledge and that he is way above the people he is leading. This hence implies that a leader should not feel intimidated by a member who may show more intense knowledge that him. The responsibility should only make him realize that he is in charge of coordinating the group. This does not mean that he will dominate all discussion and impose some things upon the members. In fact, it will be easier if he or she brings himself to the level of other people. Even though he or she bears such a title, he should let the other members know that they are equally capable of influencing the group (Saer, 93). Care should however always be taken by the leader to ensure that false doctrine and influence is not brought into the group. Each member should always be given a chance to head a discussion which will encourage sharing.
In many occasions when heading a group study, the members may be encountered with an issue or even a biblical question where the leader is required to take responsibility. This hence implies that vital knowledge of the bible and people management skills are important for a leader. Realizing that he is subject to confrontation and challenge, the leaders needs to pray more and give himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. One of the things that a Christian leader needs to know is the fact that the devil may use any strategy to dismantle the group or discourage the members. This hence requires them to have a spiritual discernment and seek God’s guidance in everything. The necessity to pray and read the word of God will ensure that the leader uses wisdom to handle any issues that may arise. In situations when the members rely solely on the leader to give them a solution, he should be in a position to offer guidance and not appear as confused as the rest of the members.
Every group needs to set goals and have a vision of where they desire to be within a particular time. This can only be facilitated when there is a good plan. It is important for such a plan and vision to be adopted after considering the needs of the members and the time they have to accomplish what they want (Saer, 112). This should be written down and the goals split into smaller units. If it is a bible study, then topics need to be selected basing on the needs of the members as well as period. The leaders should always ensure he keeps to the plan and make adjustments only when it is necessary. It is also important for the leader to have time may after the end of each group or after a couple of meeting just to know how the members are feeling about the discussion. It should never be assumed that the members like and enjoy what is being presented. Getting direct answers will help the leader know when and where to make adjustments. It should always be noted that the discussion is for the benefit of all members and mot just a small section.
In some occasions, the leader may realize that the group discussions are not adequate to satisfy the spiritual needs of every member. This may hence prompt a need to have individualized discussions with a member who may have felt that some things were not clear to them. People have different levels of understanding yet this should not hinder the group from moving forward. Specific discussions for some topics can be facilitated among the members. For instance, on a particular day, the leader may choose to have groups of two or there just to assist each other in understanding certain topics. It will be easier for such smaller groups as doubts will be cleared about certain topics. It is also important for the leader to ensure that good relationships are built among the members (Saer, 67). Whenever there are conflicts, the leader should take it upon himself to ensure that it does not affect the growth of the group. This can be facilitated by frequently edifying the members on the virtues of forgiveness and love. Having joint prayers and changing the venues of the meeting will do a lot in enhancing relationships.
Small groups’ is vital to strengthening a larger organization. In a society where people find themselves in large congregations and ministry, there needs may not be effectively met unless they are split in smaller groups. When having such groups, church leaders find it easy grouping people basing on the region. This makes it easy for them to meet and organize for meetings. However, care should be taken to ensure that they do not turn out to be discriminative. A person should also be allowed the freedom to choose the group where they will feel satisfied. However, changing from one group to the other before the end of a session should be discouraged as this may tamper with the plan of the groups. In cases where it cannot be avoided, the leader can facilitate after having justified the reasons for such a decision. Prayer should remain to be a guiding principle in such groups. The meetings should always be integrated to nurture gifts and talents of the members. They should also be given opportunities to exercise what they got and be encouraged to support one another.
Saer, Orlando. Iron Sharpens Iron: Leading Small Groups That Thrive. London: Stl Distribution North Amer, 2010.