An Exponential Leadership Lesson That Most Pastors Miss

I have been a student of small group ministry for many years. Recently I asked the leaders of SGN huddles around the world for one thing that they learned this past year that significantly changed their group strategy.

The following is a very insightful comment from a pastor in Australia:

“As a Pastor with multiple areas of oversight I have a divided focus and time. Empowering a lay leader with the passion and gifts for leading and multiplying small groups has enabled us to make more steps forward than I ever could because of my divided focus of oversight.  It has involved giving him both responsibility and authority, public recognition of his role and supporting him as a colleague in ministry.  We have also found a synergy in gifts and personalities, which means we complement each other as a team.”

Did you get that? This pastor made the decision to raise up a lay leader to handle the small group ministry. He wisely realized that he had too much on his plate. (Can I get an “Amen” from anyone that can relate to that predicament?)

Fortunately, he had learned that he didn’t have to do it all. He could give one of those responsibilities to a lay person with the passion and skillset necessary to handle it.

Let’s look at three quick leadership tactics that we can gain from this pastor’s lesson:

  1. If you profess to be good at everything you’ll soon be found out. If you commit to responsibilities as though you can do everything you’ll soon be failing to meet your commitments. The smartest leaders, like the pastor above, know their strengths and weaknesses and are honest enough about them to implement tactic number 2 below.
  2. Find people that complement your skills and shore up areas in which you’re not as strong. Building a team where everyone looks alike and has the same gifts and skills means that not only are many of them redundant, but you could be compounding weak areas. The best teams balance the strengths and weaknesses of the individual team members to form a well-rounded team.
  3. By enlisting others to help lead you’ll find that many will be honored and this responsibility will actually tie them closer to the ministry because they become a stakeholder, or “owner.” They will also relieve you of responsibilities that you can’t pull off because of lack of available time or skillset.

Your church is probably similar to most in that you have many talented, capable people in your congregation.

So, if you’re feeling stressed and stretched by your workload, ask yourself this question, “What am I doing that I could have a lay person do?”

Then get started.

Relief and extraordinary productivity are just ahead.

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Don’t miss out on the wealth of wisdom to be gained from being in a Small Group Network huddle. If you’re not in a huddle now, find one and join it, or start one.


  • Ron Wilbur

    Ron is formerly the Pastor of Small Group Health at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Ron co-leads our connections team and leads the international team connecting SGN members outside of North America.

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Daniel Thomas

Connections Director


Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



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