This question is fairly common, at least the essence of it is, and I think you'll pick up a familiar theme from my answer if you've been along for very much of this conversation.
Note: Don't be distracted by the part of the question that mentions the size of their church (i.e., "in a growing church of 2000 adults."). The answers to these questions really apply to almost all small group pastors.
Almost all? Read on, you'll see why I say almost all.
Here's the question:
What role does personal invitation/recruitment of new group leaders by the small groups pastor in a growing church of 2000 adults play?
There are church-wide strategies that we employ, but this is a point of discussion that crops up from time to time. Is "cold calling" through small group rosters something you see as a strategy that should be done alongside other strategies?
Here's my answer:
As a church grows it reaches the point where there are too many people for the pastor (and any other staff) to know* everyone. While some pastors are better at remembering the names and stories that go with the face, every pastor has a limit to how many people they can actually know*. I think this usually happens around the time the church begins to average about 150 adults (keep in mind that averaging 150 adults probably means there are 300 adults who attend irregularly and on Easter more of them come on the same Sunday).
*Know means something more than recognize. All pastors and staff have the experience of being at the grocery store or waiting for a table at a restaurant and exchanging a nod (or even having a short conversation) with someone who obviously knows who they are, but the knowledge isn't mutual.
Now, as a church continues to grow, it reaches a point where there are actually more people that no one knows than there are people who are known by the pastor and staff. Right? Can you sense that where you are?
This next sentence is very important.
The reality that follows is that growing churches eventually have more potential leaders who are unconnected and unknown than potential leaders who are connected to a group already.
Read this sentence very carefully:
Therefore, I do not assume that participating in a small group as a member is a prerequisite to leading a group. Assuming one must be a member of a group before becoming an apprentice or a leader ensures a low number of new groups. It also ensures missing the connection window for many, many unconnected people who experience their "one tough thing" before there is an open group.
Assuming one must be a member of a group before becoming an apprentice or a leader ensures a low number of new groups. It also ensures missing the connection window for many, many unconnected people who experience their one tough thing… Click To Tweet
Can you see it?
This is the appeal of the group launch strategies we use (and that I've highlighted here). Sure, you can do what you've asked about, but I would say only after you've done the hard work of (1) identifying and recruiting a high-capacity team of coaches and (2) finished the detailed planning of your next two new group launching strategies that identify leaders as part of their process.
Have I set the bar high enough? I think so. In my opinion, your extremely valuable time must be spent on the strategies with the highest potential. Cold-calling group members in search of potential leaders is a poor substitute for the most strategic use of your time.
- Overview: Here Are Our Four Strategies for Launching New Groups
- What's Your Urgency Level for Unconnected People?
- Take a Small Group Vacation!
- 4 Essential Skills Most New Small Group Pastors Need to Develop
- 5 Stupid Things Small Group Pastors Need to Stop Doing
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