Many churches are finding that huddles are great places for growing leaders who make disciples. They are small groups for reflection and discussion, designed to help leaders to be disciples who make disciples who make more disciples. By emphasising the corporate nature of discipling, a huddle is a place where leaders find support and accountability.

‘Huddle’ brings to mind huddling together to keep warm, coming close to experience comfort, and companionship in harsh conditions. Emperor penguins huddle together for warmth through the long winter months when temperatures average 20 ºC below freezing. Spiritual leadership brings real rewards but, sometimes, it can feel cold and isolating. God gives us one another as a key means of growth and support, and huddles are a strongly practical means to open us up for God to equip us for his work in his way.

Accountability as disciples means holding each other to our best within grace-filled relationships, and is God’s way of sustaining us in the demanding role of leading others. Sports teams huddle together before play and during breaks to urge each other on and to plan the next move. Huddling performs an important function of uniting the team in its primary purpose over the long haul.

These two powerful images – the penguins and the football team – remind us that, in the midst of all the demands of Christian leadership, God has given us one another. We stand side by side in the grace of contending together with our enemy, not the grief of competing with one another.

Over the last four years, we have seen huddles become a vital part of the course as they have enabled deep and significant friendships to flourish within the group, producing a great sense of being a vibrant learning community.