While it is extremely important for the senior pastor to be an advocate for groups in the church, there may be some work to do to get him there. A church without the pastor as the champion for groups will typically max out at around 40 percent who connect in groups. There are a few things you can do to win him over and reach the other 60 percent and beyond.
Bring him stories.
There is no senior pastor who does not get fired up about hearing stories of life change taking place in the church. Send him a monthly email update. Slip them into all-staff meetings. Include him on updates to leaders. If there is a constant flow of life change stories from the groups team, he will begin to embrace the concept.
Show him how key initiatives in the church can be reinforced through small groups.
If there is a building campaign, design a study around it for groups to go through. Or write studies to go along with the weekly messages. Every pastor loves to hear his members still talking about the Sunday message on Wednesday.
Allow him to participate in a small group with handpicked members.
Senior pastors feel the pressure to have to lead everything in which they are involved. Give him the opportunity to feel invested through a group he does not lead. The members of the group should be non-EGR’s (extra grace required) people with whom he can be comfortable on a weekly basis.
Invite the senior pastor to speak at the next leadership training event.
There is something exhilarating about a roomful of leaders going in the same direction. By participating in the training, he will begin to see the leadership development potential of a well-designed small-group system. Don’t forget to fill the night with stories of life change.
This article was written by Chris Surratt and appeared in an earlier version at chrissurratt.com. Chris is currently the Executive Pastor of Discipleship and Groups at Harvest Church in SoCal. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C. He is the author of Leading Small Groups and Small Groups for the Rest of Us.