“That was a rookie mistake.”
Ever heard that? Ever said it to yourself? Probably all of us have been there and done that.
Here are 5 of the most common mistakes of rookie small group pastors:
- Trying to take care of too many small group leaders. This is a very common mistake and reflects a lack of understanding of span of care. Caring for too many can only do two things: burn out the caregiver or provide inadequate and watered down care. See also, Span of Care and How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure.
- Propping up existing groups instead of starting new groups. It happens to all of us and if we let it, it will happen over and over. “We are down to three couples…if you could send us a couple more it would be helpful.” This is a losing proposition. Far better to prioritize new groups and teach existing group leaders how to be on the lookout for new members. See also, Critical Decision: Add Members to Existing Groups vs. Start New Groups and Great Question: How Do I Train Leaders to Add New Members?
- Not saying “no” to unfit “leaders”. Although unfit can cover a lot of ground, the version that catches many rookie small group pastors are the people who want to be a leader but couldn’t build their own group if their life depended on it. They need to be given 10 members and then don’t have what’s necessary to hold the group together. Learning to say “no” often begins with learning to ask, “Do you already have a few people you can invite?” Seasoned small group pastors learn to be wary of the “leaders” who can’t build their own group.
- Allowing their senior pastor to delegate the small group champion role. This mistake has deadly implications. It’s never good when the most influential person in the congregation (the senior pastor) delegates the champion role to the small group pastor. Rookie small group pastors often have a very hard time helping their senior pastor see the opportunity that exists when the champion role is played by the right person. See also, Your Senior Pastor As Small Group Champion Leads to a Church of Groups.
- Missing the opportunity to partner with their senior pastor. Related to mistake #4, there is a tremendous opportunity for impact when a small group pastor learns how to help the senior pastor champion small group ministry. See also, 6 Ways to Help Your Senior Pastor Make the Small Group Ask.
Here’s an important note. All of us make these mistakes at one time or another. The key is to learn from our mistakes and not make them again!
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