The small group ministry point person comes in many shapes and sizes. Some are solely small group pastors or directors (it’s all they do). Others wear many hats and the role of small group ministry point person is just one of the things they do. Some are on the paid staff while others volunteer their time. Some are seasoned veterans and others truly are in their first rodeo.
I’ve been all of the above. You may have been too.
Regardless of shape or size of your role, there are several practices that should be part of what you do as the small group ministry point person. And it’s important to clarify, there are a set of things that are not part of the role of a small group ministry point person. For example, the effective small group ministry point person will never be the small group champion. That will always be the senior pastor. Also, an effective small group ministry point person will almost never be the one providing primary care for small group leaders. That will be the role of the coaches within the system.
So what then are the practices of an effective small group ministry point person?
There are several:
- Non-stop watching for opportunities to move small groups from the back burner to the front burner. In order for the importance of being in a small group to end up being mentioned in your pastor’s sermon every week, in the weekend announcements when possible, prominently on the website and in the bulletin…someone has to be on the lookout for opportunities. If you’re the point person, that someone is almost always you. This is about regularly passing success stories to your pastor. It’s about being the most knowledgeable about best practices for communicating (website, bulletin, e-newsletter, etc.) and sharing your knowledge with the right people.
- Constantly doing to and for your leaders (or coaches) whatever you want them to do to and for their members (or leaders). Depending on the number of groups in your ministry, you’ll either be investing directly in group leaders or you’ll be investing in coaches who will be investing in leaders. Effective point people understand that this is not something you do when you have extra time. It is actually at the very heart of what your ministry must be about.
- Always on the lookout for potential leaders of leaders. Building a thriving small group ministry requires developing an effective coaching structure. An effective small group point person understands their own limitations and is always looking for high capacity leaders of leaders who can share the load and help care for a growing number of small group leaders.
- Thinking ahead about next steps that are easy, obvious and strategic. Developing a year-round small group ministry strategy that fits the rhythm of your congregation, crowd, and community is a blend of science and art. It won’t happen over night and it won’t be a one-time move. For example, your church’s annual missions emphasis may currently fall right in the middle of what should be an annual fall small group ministry launch. Or your church may have always used August to recruit ministry volunteers, but you’re realizing August is when you need to recruit hosts for the fall launch. Developing a year-round small group ministry strategy takes someone who is always thinking ahead about next steps that are easy, obvious and strategic.
Image by Jacob Botter