How an Effective Small Group Pastor Structures Their Calendar
You’ve made it through the hiring process, unpacked your books, and set up your office. You’ve even played around with your email signature.
What should you do with your time? How can you structure your calendar, your time, to have the greatest impact?
Dr. Steven Covey’s famous illustration of doing first things first is a great way to begin this discussion. On the table is a large glass container and three smaller containers filled with big rocks, pebbles or sand. The objective? Fit them all into the large glass container.
In the illustration you’re shown that if you begin by dumping the sand into the glass container, then add the pebbles, and finally try to add the big rocks…they will not all fit.
The alternative (and the point of the illustration) is that if you begin by placing the big rocks, followed by the pebbles, and then the sand, all three ingredients will fit into the glass container.
The moral of the story? Do the first things first. Start your day or your week by scheduling the big rocks (You can watch a short video right here if you’ve never seen it).
Why share this illustration with you today? If you want to be an effective small group pastor, you’ve got to put the big rocks into your calendar first. The big rocks do not take care of themselves. Only with intentional effort will the most important things get done. Without an intentional effort, many weeks, months, and even years, will come and go without accomplishing the things that must be done if you want to build a thriving small group ministry.
What are the big rocks? There are four big rocks, four main components, to the role of a small group pastor, at least as I envision it.
The Role of an Effective Small Group Pastor
- A behind the scenes instigator who sets in motion an annual strategy to connect people. There are two key elements to this role. First, the small group pastors with thriving small group ministries are almost always operate behind the scenes and are unknown by the congregation. Second, they’re thinking year round about opportunities to connect unconnected people and designing strategies around those opportunities. See also, 5 Keys to Launching New Groups Year Round.
- A role model, doing to and for your leaders (or coaches as your ministry grows) what you want them to do to and for the members of their groups. Since adults learn on a need to know basis, developing leaders is a customized and just-in-time practice. When this role is played effectively, leaders learn to do what you want them to do to and for their group members. See also, The Most Important Contribution of the Small Group Pastor.
- A talent scout always identifying, recruiting and developing high capacity people, managing a reasonable span of care. The key here is that building a thriving small group ministry is a team effort and every congregation has high capacity people who will only be fruitful and fulfilled when they play a high-impact role. 5 Habits I’d Look for If I Was Hiring a Small Group Pastor.
- A Joshua to Moses or Timothy to Paul, looking for ways to help your senior pastor be the small group champion. Never underestimate this aspect of the role of the small group pastor. Thriving small group ministries aren’t built when the senior pastor delegates the role of small group champion, See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups.
These are the big rocks, as I see it. Put these things into your calendar first.