“You are not the lead Small Groups person at your church, your Senior Pastor is the lead Small Groups person at your church.”- Steve Gladden
This statement brings clarity to the reality that the voice that carries the biggest weight in any church is that of the Senior Pastor. And this applies in small group ministry as well. So, the question for the Small Groups Point Person is, “Since my Senior Pastor has the most influence, how do I help him/her champion small groups?”
I believe there are three keys to casting vision up to your Senior Pastor regarding Small Groups.
#1. Have Integrity. Often when communicating with senior leaders people try to polish up the facts. If you have 16 small groups, don’t say you have almost 20. If 11 out of 30 Small Group leaders showed up for training don’t say you had almost half. Be brutally honest with the facts. This will protect your reputation with your Senior Pastor and build their trust in you.
#2. Love what they love. While your Senior Pastor cares about everything at the church, they have a tendency toward a particular focus. This is their heartbeat. Maybe it is discipleship, maybe it is evangelism, maybe it is millennials, maybe something else. Small Group involvement positively affects every church metric. Figure out what your Senior Pastor cares about and speak in that language. For example, if your Senior Pastor has a heart for millennials, did you know that a recent study found that the number one factor affecting whether millennials stay at a church was their relationships with other church members. Small groups are the best place for relationships.
“Huddles” are created to gather small group point people to share ideas, resources & build relationships! 6 new Huddles were created in April: Southern Alabama, North Atlanta, Dallas City Center, West Michigan, Kansas City & Eastern/Central Kentucky! To join a Huddle or to start one, click here: smallgroupnetwork.com/huddles
#3. Limit what you ask for. I ask my Senior Pastor for three things, and ONLY three things. I ask that he model life in community by being in a Small Group. I ask that once a year he consider preaching a message on groups. And I ask that once a year he invest in our Small Group leaders at a training event. That is it. I don’t ask him to promote anything else. I don’t ask him to be at Small Groups connections events. I don’t even ask him to lead a Small Group. Here is why-
I know that my Senior Pastor is extremely busy and is constantly getting asked to support or talk about someone’s ministry or project. I want to respect his time and make sure I only ask for what I really need. And I want to make it easy for him to say yes when I ask, because he knows I won’t ask if it is not needed.
Ultimately, the key to casting vision for small groups to your Senior Pastor is to try to view things from their perspective.