A Job Description
For Housegroup Leaders by Paul Hazelden
This job description for a housegroup leader is intended to be
useful, rather than complete or definitive. The idea
is to provide a check-list of the most important areas, to be used
when reviewing the housegroup with the church leadership.
Every group needs to have a task - a purpose for existing.
Why else would you bother to meet? Housegroups in
the church are no exception. The members must be committed
to this task, and find some personal benefit from their
involvement. There are therefore three distinct aspects,
all of which need to work: achieving the purpose of the group,
working together as a group, and meeting the needs of the
individuals within the group.
Putting these three aspects together, in any group the job of
the leader is to equip the individual
members so that the group can work together in achieving its
common purpose. What does this mean for a housegroup
Individual - the aim is to enable each member of the
group to grow to maturity as Christians and as people. In
the jargon, this is called 'discipleship'.
Group - the aim is to build a group with its own
unique identity and style, which works well together and
contributes to the wider mission of the church.
Purpose - the aim of the group is the aim of all
Christians: to follow Jesus, to join His mission of bringing the
Kingdom of God to a needy world.
Areas of Responsibility
The primary areas of responsibility for a
housegroup leader can be divided up as follows.
Your task is to equip the saints for the work of service.
Your aim is to equip them so well that they don't need you
any more. (If you are not convinced about this, try working
through the implications of not having it as your
The prophet is someone who is in touch with the heart of God -
someone who not only experiences intimacy with God, but can
communicate how He feels to other people. Prophets
express their burden in various ways: sometimes through words,
sometimes through actions, and sometimes through song.
Learn how to worship together (practice intimacy with God, don't just talk about it)
Keep in touch with what is happening in the world (both local and global)
Pray against poverty, injustice and violence (how does God feel about these things?)
Pray for people who are weak, poor and marginalised (both near and far)
Find some way to express God's heart for these issues and individuals (when I was in prison, you didn't just pray for me)
The evangelist is someone who is so taken up with the good news
that they are constantly helping other people to understand and
believe it. People need to both hear the gospel and see it
worked out in your lives.
Personal, group and church evangelism
Out-reach and in-drag evangelism
Proclaimation and friendship evangelism
Systematic and spontaneous evangelism
Door-to-door evangelism with newsletters, gifts and invitations
Remember, for many people belonging needs to come
The pastor helps people who are hurting, but the best pastors
aim to prevent the problems before they happen: pastoral care
should be proactive as well as reactive.
The group must be responsive when people have needs, without
allowing itself to become needs-oriented. The group must
work for everyone, not just those with the greatest needs, or
those with the greatest willingness to talk about their needs.
Love (without it you can do nothing)
Availability (people must know they can come to you for help)
Encouragement (everybody needs it)
Visiting (people relate to you differently at home)
Meals (eating together builds bridges)
Admonish (provide the first line of church discipline)
Mediate (conflicts will always arise from time to time)
Meetings are not the purpose of group life, but they are are
the core of it. Housegroups will normally have some informal
meetings and special events - parties, days out, social events,
and the like, but there also needs to be a regular 'normal'
meeting which includes the following elements. You don't
need each one each time you meet, but there does need to be a
healthy balance between these areas in the medium term.
Prayer (encourage everyone to pray, explore different approaches to prayer)
Teaching (the most important aspect - allow people to ask the questins that really matter to them)
Fellowship (encourage an appropriate level of sharing - both joys and problems)
The culture of the group is hard to pin down, but it is more
important than your Bible study technique or your skill in
worshipping together. The culture is the set of shared
expectations and standards.
Honesty (evangelical Christians are very bad it it, both doctrinal and emotional)
Trust (people have to earn your trust, but you have to give them the chance)
Risk (people need the freedom to take risks, to fail, to be less than perfect)
People choose to follow a leader because they see the leader is
going somewhere they want to go too, and trust the leader to get
them there safely.
The only type of Christian leadership is servant
leadership - you are not there to get your own way, but to
serve the members and see that they grow. It is more to do
with speaking on behalf of the group than with giving orders.
Vision (have one and communicate it)
Remember, a vision can grow and be discovered, but it cannot
Articulate goals and standards (for the members to commit themselves to)
Delegation (don't do it all yourself but ensure it is all done)
Be an example (you are an example, whether you like it or not!)
Use the resources available to you (the Bible, prayer, other church leaders)
You can't help the group if you work yourself into the ground!
You need to establish useful boundaries, to preserve space
for all the important areas of your life.
Useful boundaries are ones that work because you understand both
where they are and why. Strict rules ("I always spend Tuesday
night with my family") rarely work, but flexibility must be used to
achieve better balance, not to squeeze more activity in.
You will need to find some form of balance
between the following aspects of your life. If you want or
need help finding or maintaining this balance, please ask for