There are certain problems only an experienced small group pastor recognizes. Without the wisdom produced by multiple rodeos, less experienced small group pastors often operate from a wishful thinking kind of optimism born of naïveté.
Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly new small group pastors who are quick learners and wiser beyond their years. And there are also long-time small group pastors who still haven’t learned to recognize certain problems.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a wiser than your years rookie, this set of problems only an experienced small group pastor recognizes will make life better if you learn to spot them (and apply the right steps to mitigate or solve them).
5 problems only an experienced small group pastor recognizes:
- Certain coaches on your coaching team are the wrong people. You cannot build an effective coaching structure with anything less than higher capacity men and women who are both fruitful and fulfilled in the role of a coach. Recruiting warm and willing people who lack capacity and are only fruitful or fulfilled leads to an ineffective coaching structure. Turning a blind eye to less-than-qualified members of your coaching team only perpetuates the problem. Experienced small group pastors recognize the members of the coaching team in the wrong role and skillfully move to replace them. See also, 6 Characteristics of an Effective Small Group Coach.
- Your senior pastor’s lack of engagement has created a lid. Your senior pastor as small group champion is not an optional ingredient and there is no real workaround. While there are things you can do if you realize change is unlikely your senior pastor’s lack of engagement is a problem that needs to be recognized for what it is and acknowledged. This limitation is a design element that cannot help but affect your results. See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #1: A Doubtful or Conflicted Senior Pastor.
- Lack of clarity about the best next step has created a lid. More options does not lead to more next steps being taken. The larger the menu the more difficult it is to choose and the more likely outcome is a kind of decision paralysis. The hard and challenging work of trimming the belong and become menu is the solution but trimming comes hand in hand with “last 10%” conversations and hard fought decisions. See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #2: A Bloated Belong and Become Menu.
- Your strategy will not consistently make disciples. If making disciples is the end game (and it should be), then a strategy that is not making disciples consistently is a problem. While there are no problem-free strategies (wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have), this is a problem that experienced small group pastors will recognize and take steps to correct. See also, 5 Signs You May Have a Bad Disciple-Making Strategy.
- Your strategy cannot produce new leaders fast enough. When your weekend attendance is growing and you’re not adding new groups (with new leaders) faster it is a problem. When your percentage connected remains flatlined whether your attendance is growing or remains steady, it is a problem. Experienced small group pastors recognize that their leader identification and development strategy is inadequate and do something about it. See also, 6 Steps to Building a Leader Development Process.
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Image by Hamed Parham