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Finding Our Strengths

Thérèse-LisieuxEarlier this month we celebrated the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower. She is a wonderful role model for all of us, but in many ways she speaks to the heart of small Christian communities in this regard: It is not always necessary to do great things, but to always do small things with great love.
As you work with your small group many tasks will arise. These will range from the larger job of actually running the group to the small, simple things sometimes taken for granted, such as having your meeting room prepared. It helps a leader to remember St. Thérèse’s philosophy and approach these tasks, and those who accomplish them, with great love.
While we hope to grow and change as we participate in our small groups, we all bring specific gifts to them at the outset. Recognizing those gifts in others and asking them to do tasks in keeping with those gifts, plays to their strengths and allows members to thrive and feel that they are making a contribution. For example, the parent who seems to know every other family in the parish is a natural choice for a group leader. The parishioner with the sunny nature and welcoming smile is a natural recruiter for bringing in new members.
When you ask participants to take on various tasks, tell them why. Affirm their gifts, and explain how those gifts are useful to the greater purpose. By naming and identifying the gifts of your small-community members you make each person feel valued and appreciated for who he or she is. It is a small thing to do, but when we do it with great love it is a powerful motivator. As you move forward and members want to take on new roles, be sensitive to the desire for change and encouraging as they explore new gifts.
When we follow the example of St. Thérèse and approach this small affirmation with great love, our small groups will grow and flourish.
Jennifer Bober is a RENEW Marketing Associate with both non-profit and publishing experience. In addition to her marketing career, she is a professional liturgical musician.

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