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How to Convice Your Sr. Pastor to Join a Small Group

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One of the most common points of frustration I hear from church leaders around the country is, “My Senior Pastor wants Small Groups to be a big deal at our church, but they won’t be in a Small Group themselves.” And the natural follow up question that’s asked right after that statement, “How do I get my Senior Pastor to be in a Small Group?” In an attempt to answer that question, here are a couple of steps you can take to help convince your Sr. Pastor that they need to be in a Small Group.

#1 Have a Plan

Don’t pester or nag your Sr. Pastor, this won’t get you anywhere. Come up with a clear plan, presentation, or pitch. Get on their calendar (schedule an appointment) and walk into that meeting with a plan. Don’t take more than 30 minutes. If you can’t cover it in 30 minutes, you’re not ready to cover it at all.

#2 Moral Authority

“Join Me” is always a better motivator than “You Should.” Help your Sr. Pastor understand that people in the church will more readily follow their example than their prescription. If the Sr. Pastor wants to have a church of Small Groups then they need to be in one. The church will always end up taking on the personality of the Sr. Leader.

#3 Let them Hand Pick the Group

Many Sr. Pastors are truly fearful of being vulnerable, and many of them are fearful for good reason. At the first sign of a crack in the armor or that they’re actually human many churchgoers call foul. So let them hand pick their group that they’re going to be in so they feel safe.

#4 Try Before You Buy

Challenge them to try it for one semester (the start of the school year to Christmas break or January to the end of the school year). At the end of that semester if they still think it’s a waste of time, no worries. At least they’ll have first-hand experience to be able to speak about it in a personal manner.

#5 Give them Good Reasons to Join a Group

There is a whole list of good reasons your Sr. Pastor should be in a Small Group. Make a list and talk to them about it. Here are a few examples:

  • They’ll grow in their relationship with Jesus (life change happens best in circles not rows)
  • They’ll make new friends that will care and encourage them (What Sr. Pastor couldn’t use more of that?)
  • It gives them moral authority (see point #2 above) and hence leadership credits with the church as a whole – it makes them a better leader
  • It’s something they can do with their spouse (score more brownie points)
  • Tell them they don’t have to lead it…just participate in it (you’re not adding more work for them to do)
  • It provides a personal accountability structure (it’s easier to stand for Jesus when you’re standing with friends)
  • Heck, Jesus was in a “Small Group” right? (Think the 12 Disciples)
  • You can probably think of more…but this should get you started

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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