Are there conversations you hate to have? How about conversations you love to have?
I have to say, one of my favorite conversations is with senior pastors about the role they play in building a thriving small group ministry. I'm having it more and more often...because a growing number of senior pastors realize that life-change happens best in circles, not rows.
When I have the conversation, these are the 5 things I end up highlighting.
5 Things I Wish I Could Say to Your Senior Pastor
First, you need to know that you are the most important champion of small group ministry.
Senior Pastor, if you want grouplife to happen, if you want to be a church OF groups, you must accept this role. You might hope to delegate the role…but you can’t. It’s not about humility. It’s all about influence.
Senior Pastor, if you want grouplife to happen, if you want to be a church OF groups, you must accept this role. You might hope to delegate the role…but you can’t. It’s not about humility. It’s all about influence. Click To Tweet
As I’ve said before, the senior pastor as champion leads to a church OF groups. There is no better example of this principle than Rick Warren and Saddleback Church. It is the real reason Saddleback connects so many in groups.
Second, you need to know that grouplife as a priority is caught…not taught.
In other words, no one is really too busy to make the commitment to grouplife. What’s vitally important at the member level is equally vital at your leadership level. You cannot hope to truly connect beyond the usual suspects without your full engagement and participation.
No one is really too busy to make the commitment to grouplife. What’s vitally important at the member level is equally vital at your leadership level. You cannot hope to truly connect beyond the usual suspects without your full… Click To Tweet
At the same time, you should know that there is great flexibility and freedom on the makeup of the specific group of which you are a member. I’ve seen numerous instances where senior pastors have been part of long-standing closed groups with members specifically chosen for their trustworthiness and character. I’ve also seen senior pastors build open groups right in their own neighborhoods. The key is participation.
Third, you need to know that commitment to small group ministry is a year-round sport.
It is not three weeks in the fall and a mention in January. It is week in, week out, full-on engagement. It is one of the top 10 reasons Saddleback has connected beyond 130% in groups. This is a huge challenge in a church with a cafeteria approach where every ministry expects their 15 minutes. It is much more likely where there is a plated-meal approach.
Fourth, you need to know that small group ministry can be the delivery system for every other thing that must be done.
Want to build mission into the life of every believer? The most productive path is to build mission engagement into every small group. Want to build ministry participation into the life of every believer? Build it into grouplife.
The least understood and greatest untapped potential of small group ministry is that it can be the delivery system for every other thing that must be done.
Fifth, you need to know that the optimum environment for life-change is a small group.
It’s not the weekend service. As important as the weekend service is, with inspirational music and powerful messages, it is most like a defibrillator. Only life-on-life can provide the ingredients of life-change. Without a genuine conviction about the optimum environment, there cannot be the kind of emphasis that builds a church OF groups.
Those are the 5 things I wish I could say to your senior pastor.
Can I say something to you?
(Don't miss this!)
The reason I have this conversation more and more often is that small group pastors are asking me to share with their senior pastor how Saddleback, North Point, Canyon Ridge (and other high profile churches) are able to build thriving small group ministries.
How does it happen? Usually, a senior pastor has already expressed a desire to have a thriving small group ministry. And usually, senior pastors who have expressed that desire are open to conversations that will help their church take giant steps in that direction.
Can I help you?
It's easy, so easy to set up a coaching call as a first step. Even better, right now I'm offering an introductory price of $75 for a 60 minute coaching call (that's $50 off!). CLICK HERE to get started!
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