I get questions. A lot of questions.
My most frequently asked question? Probably has to do with “what if my senior pastor won’t…”
There are all sorts of these questions:
- “What if my senior pastor won’t be the small group champion?”
- “What if my senior pastor won’t narrow the focus, trim the belong and become menu, and prioritize now over then?”
- “What if my senior will only preach expository sermons through books of the Bible?”
As you can see, there are all sorts of these questions.
What if my senior pastor won’t be the small group champion?
Why don’t we start with this one: “What if my senior pastor won’t be the small group champion?”
First, it might help your senior pastor if they understood the role of the small group champion (what it is and what it isn’t).
Step One: Make sure your senior pastor knows that the role of the small group champion is simply to be the number one spokesperson for small groups: the optimal environment for life-change. Also, make sure they know the role of the small group pastor is to take care of the planning, the organization, the design, etc., making it easy for the senior pastor to simply focus on the champion role. See also, Essential Ingredients of Life-Change and Life-Change at the Member-Level.
Second, it might help you to determine the background for their reluctance. There may be several reasons why they won’t take on the mantle.
- They may misunderstand what the small group champion does.
- They may not understand why it is important for them to be the small group champion.
- They may have been burned by a previous small group pastor who didn’t take care of their end of the bargain.
- They may feel like their small group pastor is better qualified.
- They may truly believe it is the small group pastor’s job.
- They may not want to play favorites.
- They may not want to seem to be playing favorites.
Step Two: Determine why, exactly why, they are reluctant to be the small group champion. How to go about this may require some gentle trial and error. Depending on your relationship with your senior pastor, your tenure on the staff, etc., determining the background for their reluctance may have to be learned over time. But…it is worth learning. See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #1: A Doubtful or Conflicted Senior Pastor.
Third, it may be that this is a game of inches, not yards (or miles). If every season is a step in the right direction, you will eventually arrive in about the right place.
Step Three: Be sure you are doing everything you need to do. Do the planning well in advance (i.e., What weekends could the small group launch be highlighted? What is the best sign-up method? How will the follow-up happen?) Fine tune the details (i.e., When must the sign-up form be printed? When will the names be entered into the database for follow-up? How will you be able to email sign-ups on behalf of your senior pastor? etc.). Script the ideal version of what you would like your senior pastor to say. See also, 6 Ways to Help Your Senior Pastor Make the Small Group Ask.
Conclusion: You can only do what you can do. Remember, your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing. Make your plan. Run the strategy. Determine results. Evaluate your strategy and begin to plan the next attempt.
In my own experience, the best results are actually developed over multiple efforts after careful planning, best-case execution, and thorough evaluation to discover the steps that could be improved.