community groupsby guest blogger Jenn Peppers, coauthor of Finding The Flow

When Finding the Flow was written in 2008, Tara Miller and I hoped to bring some of the coaching principles I was practicing as a life coach into the transformational space of community groups. Nearly 10 years later that desire hasn’t changed. If anything I see a more urgent need for these practices today because over the past decade it’s become even more challenging to connect and listen to each other.

If you’ve ever engaged in a powerful coaching conversation you know what it’s like to have someone listen deeply and ask meaningful questions. You’ve experienced how insight and answers emerge from a deeper source. Or you’ve noticed you walked away feeling seen and known. You may have been drawn out and inspired to see new a perspective, make a good decision, understand a situation, and heal or overcome something.

Tara and I started imagining members of community groups feeling inspired this way by their leaders. We dreamed of equipping group facilitators with coaching practices that ultimately would help group members experience a stronger sense of love and belonging.

The main coaching practices– and benefits for readers– covered in Finding the Flow are:

  1. Gaining self-awareness as a leader through knowing values, naming emotions, and understanding triggers.
  2. Establishing a strong group identity: What are the group values? What is its purpose?
  3. Inviting transparency and vulnerability through listening on a deeper level, asking powerful questions, and addressing conflict.
  4. Building community group ministries with spiritual growth and transformation as the ultimate desire.

The beauty of a coaching mindset in group leadership is that leaders don’t have to be farther along relationally, spiritually or intellectually to guide group members in transformative ways. The leader’s role is to walk alongside rather than give advice or answers, so being farther along might even be a hinderance at times. (And, by the way, this line comes in handy when recruiting new leaders who have doubts about their abilities.) With the type of leadership we espouse the most helpful qualifications include loving people, being humble, and staying connected to God. The possibilities are endless when the leader engages with God’s Spirit to find the flow.

Photo by Levi XU on Unsplash