What skills must every small group pastor have in their skill set? I've written about the 5 habits I'd look for if I was hiring a small group pastor. This is really a different thing. There is a set of skills every small group pastor must have in their skill set.
7 Skills Every Small Group Pastor Needs
1. Relationship Builder
This is really not a position for monks or hermits. A small group pastor need not be a raging extrovert, but they do need to be a relationship builder (which may be true of both introverts and extroverts). The task of building a thriving small group ministry cannot be done alone. It takes an army and a master relationship builder in the lead role is a powerful advantage.
2. Identifier of High Capacity Leaders
In order to build a thriving small group ministry you must have an effective coaching structure. Once you have more than 10 groups, caring for small group leaders will become increasingly difficult without engaging a growing band of high capacity leaders (who can each care for 5 to 10 small group leaders). Span of care issues keep many small group ministries from thriving. Identifying high capacity leaders is a full time job in a thriving small group ministry and can only rarely be delegated. See also, 6 Essential Characteristics of an Effective Small Group Coach.
3. Recruiter of High Capacity Leaders
It is not enough to be able to spot high capacity leaders; recruiting them is an essential skill. Skillful recruiting can be developed and there is an art to it. It is my conviction that high capacity leaders are always busy people, wear many hats and will only occasionally volunteer for your ministry. If you want to build an effective small group coaching structure, you must become a skillful recruiter. See also, How to Recruit a Small Group Coach: My Secret Formula.
4. Developer of Leaders
Although some leader development may be delegated, there is no avoiding the need for this skill. Because whatever you want to happen in the lives of the members of your groups must happen first in the lives of the leaders of your groups (and because this informs what you must do to and for (and with) your coaches), some of the most important leader development must be done by the small group pastor. Small group pastors without this skill will struggle to build an effective coaching structure. See also, The One Thing Every Small Group Pastor Must Do for Small Group Leaders and Equip Your Coaches to Develop and Disciple Small Group Leaders.
5. Strategic Thinker
You may have your doubts that this skill is essential, but I am convinced that the most effective small group pastors think strategically and in fact are students of the craft. Next steps for everyone and first steps for their friends that are easy, obvious and strategic isn't a naturally occurring phenomenon. To the contrary, a crowded belong and become menu is the ministry equivalent of the second law of thermodynamics (In an isolated system, natural processes are spontaneous when they lead to an increase in disorder, or entropy).
6. Story Teller and Hero Maker
In many cases, the small group pastor has the greatest potential to know the best stories about life-change and be close enough to the action to identify the heroic actions of ordinary people. When the small group pastor is skilled at identifying great stories and making heroes and willing to pass those along to the senior pastor on a regular basis...you have the recipe for a powerful collaboration. See also, 5 Keys to Starting New Groups. Lots of New Groups and 5 Things Every New Small Group Pastor Needs to Know on Day 1.
7. Behind the Scenes Producer
If the senior pastor must be the small group champion (and this is the case in all thriving small group ministries), the small group pastor must be a skilled behind the scenes producer. The role of a Hollywood movie producer might provide clarifying insight. "He shepherds the production from start to finish. In a typical arrangement, the producer develops an idea or script with a writer and secures the necessary rights. He often hires the director, supervises casting, and assembles a crew. Additionally, the producer oversees the budget and then coordinates the postproduction work—everything from editing, to commissioning music, to encouraging the film's stars to plug the movie on talk shows." The key? The producer plays a critical role but is almost entirely behind the scenes...until they accept the Oscar. See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups.
There is a set of skills every small group pastor must have in their skill set: Relationship Builder, Identifier, Recruiter and Developer of High Capacity Leaders, Strategic Thinker, Story Teller and Hero Maker and Behind the Scenes Producer.
Do you need to develop any of these?
There is a set of skills every small group pastor must have in their skill set: Relationship Builder, Identifier, Recruiter and Developer of High Capacity Leaders, Strategic Thinker, Story Teller and Hero Maker and Behind the Scenes… Click To Tweet
Image by Melanie Hughes