The Role of the Senior Pastor, P. 3

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In addition to championing community regularly among the staff and congregation and casting the vision for community beyond the core of the church, the Senior Pastor is also the key to coordinating messages and themes for the year to emphasize community.  This again is an area of ministry that requires the engagement of the Senior Pastor.  Are you picking up on a theme in this series?  Let’s break down what this means.  There are two keys to this aspect of the role.

First, if you want to have real impact in the area of group life,  the messages and themes require coordination.  Note that this is a conditional statement.  You only need to coordinate if you want to have real impact!  What does it mean to coordinate the messages and themes?  Coordination implies intention and planning.  If you know this is where the congregation needs to go, if you’ve clarified the win, you’ll spend the time necessary to chart a clear and compelling path for your people.  An important takeaway here is that we’re not talking about an annual message or message series.  To coordinate the messages and themes indicates the need for multiple shots over the course of the year.  If it is important, if you want your congregation to experience life in community…it’s not a single shot approach.  And that leads the the second key.

Second, if you want to have real impact in the area of group life, you’ll need to see this as a year-long effort.  Not that you’ll have it down in a year and can then move on to another area of emphasis.  Instead, you’ll see the coordination of messages and themes as a way of doing business…all year, every year.

I’m often asked, “Does this mean that community becomes the only thing you talk about?”  No, but it does mean that community and its multifaceted expression becomes integrated into everything you do.  For example, in a message series with the basic theme of recovery, Saddleback used a different testimony every week from someone whose group had helped them through a difficult season in life.  Represented were testimonies from participants of Celebrate Recovery, DivorceCare and GriefShare.  The theme of the series, although not expressly about group life, offered multiple references to the value of life together.

Why is this all year coordination important?  Two reasons.  First, what is truly important gets regular attention.  It’s also fair to say that everything isn’t equally important.  If you’ve come to the conclusion that group life is an essential ingredient for your congregation…you’ll give it priority and that talk about it regularly.

The second reason that all year coordination is important is that because community is an unfamiliar pattern in the 21st century, helping your congregation take this step will require:

  • repetition to establish new patterns
  • modeling to demonstrate the benefits, and
  • a clear path to show the way.

You can read part 4 of my series on The Role of the Senior Pastor right here.

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