Archives For Andrew Mason

Feet on Break

Genesis 2:3 (NKJV) says, “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.” If the Eternal Creator of the Universe rested from work then we finite human beings should make sure we rest. I believe the same is true for small group ministry and leaders as well. This is why I implement planned breaks into our small group ministry at our church.

I don’t think there is anything inherently evil about having a continuous small group ministry. Some churches do it and do it successfully. I can share with you from experience that many people and even leaders have questioned me as to why we take breaks. They point out that it can break the momentum of the group. They also share concern about people who begin attending the church during a small group break. What if they’re looking for a group to join and there isn’t one there? What if they never get connected and stop attending the church before the next small group launch?

Those are valid concerns with genuine merit. My initial response is that…

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Kids

One of the most common excuses I hear from people for not being able to attend or host a small group is, “I don’t know what to do with my children.” This particular issue, although it requires a little bit of thought, should not be used as excuse to disengage from small group community.

Biblical disciples are formed in biblical community. Children are a blessing from God, not a deal-breaker for your own spiritual formation. At first, the childcare issue can look like an obstacle to being involved in groups. However, like many dynamics in our life, it is another key opportunity for us to ask ourselves, “Do we really believe we need to be plugged into biblical community?” If the answer is a resounding “yes,” (and I hope that it is) then our attention and energy shifts away from waiving the white flag towards focusing on practical solutions.

As a Small Groups Pastor, I’ve always tried to identify groups in our church directory that are “child-friendly” so parents know what their options are but this is only the first step (Note: Groups that are marked “child-friendly” in our groups directory are facilitated by hosts…

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Group

It is a pleasant fiction to think that a small group ministry can soar in a church by delegating all of the responsibility to an associate pastor. A similar line of reasoning would contend that the lead pastor doesn’t need to worship because they have hired a worship leader to do that. Of course, nobody would make a statement like that about worship, but often we send a similar message about discipleship when lead pastors don’t position themselves as the small group champions.

If a culture of disciple-making groups is going to take root in a church, it’s critical for the lead pastor to champion the cause.

There are many factors to support this paradigm, but I’d briefly like to share three realities for lead pastors and discipleship . . .

1. Jesus was the Groups Champion of the New Testament Church

Jesus was the greatest small group leader ever. He took 12 people and launched the fastest-growing, most…

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As an associate pastor who has oversight of small groups at my church, I see a large part of my responsibility as assisting the lead pastor to be at the center of our discipleship strategy. This is more of an art than a science, because the lead pastor has many demands on their schedule that no other staff or leader has.

In order to position the lead pastor properly, you must find ways to get beneath the surface of systems, memos, and bullet points. You have to be creative at keeping the small group vision connected to your lead pastor’s life in a real way while they’re navigating board meetings, budgets, conflict resolution, local community relations, and more.

Here are three ideas to engage your lead pastor as the small group champion:

1. Develop a Church-Wide Alignment Series

Chances are, your lead pastor loves to communicate. They typically have a topic brewing inside of them that they desire to deliver to everyone’s heart. Tap into their passion by helping them to create a corporate immersion into their message.

In the last two years, I’ve worked with my lead pastor to create two of these experiences with his own…

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