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 material that integrates the small group ministry as well. We’ve developed a six-week message series, his own accompanying video series that can be used in the small groups, along with a daily devotional that also includes the group curriculum.
While this process is a lot of work, it really allows my lead pastor to engage his heart into what the groups will be going through. It makes it very natural for him to lead the groups strategy versus giving him a script to follow.
2. Drip-Feed the Lead Pastor Discipleship Content
Every three to four months I try to pass along small group resources to my lead pastor that I come across.
Once a year I’ll try to buy him a book. The last two that I bought him were Biblical Foundations for the Cell-Based Church by Joel Comiskey and Tribe by Sebastian Junger. The first book was filled with theology he could use for his messages. The second was a non-Christian book that confronted the dangers of individualism, a cultural dynamic we deal with regularly in North America.
I’ll also pass along online videos I come across or research with empirical data on the value of small groups in churches and so on.
3. Provide Bite-Sized Experiences for the Lead Pastor
Knowing my lead pastor is very busy, I invite him to visit a small group one time at the beginning of one of our small group promotions and talk about it for the first two minutes of his sermon that week. This is a digestible task that keeps him connected to the groups vision but doesn’t over-tax his schedule.
I pray this article provokes you to spend some time thinking of some practical and creative ways to engage the lead pastor in the small group ministry.
This was originally published on The Small Group Network Blog.