Spearheading a small group ministry has its complexities and because of this it’s easy to experience the fine art of, “leadership gaffes.” Like anyone leading any ministry, company, or movement, we will make mistakes. And, like every other leadership role, there are a few mistakes, if made, that can throw the brakes on the momentum the ministry is experiencing and will sometimes bring the ministry to a near halt.
- Lack of long-range planning – Long range planning is the key to having enough leaders in place, enough financing in order, and the staff necessary to keep up with growth. Short-range thinkers may accomplish what needs to be done in the upcoming six months but, if a groups point person isn’t thinking ahead two years, they’ll be ill prepared when the ministry grows exponentially.
- Missing the moment – In every small group pastor’s life there are moments that could be turning points for the ministry they lead. The senior pastor asks, “Is there anything I can do to aid you in your ministry? I’ll do whatever you need for me to do.” The wealthy church member takes you aside and says, “I love what’s happening in our small group ministry. If you ever need anything just let me know.” A church consultant or leading voice in the groups movement says to you in the lobby at a conference you’re attending, “I’d be happy to help you any way I possibly can… no cost to you.” I think you get the picture. There are some moments in a group pastors life that could be turning points for the ministry. Don’t miss the moment!
- Under staffing – Small group ministry is a relational ministry so it demands that there a people to lead leaders and people to care for and nurture leaders. In order for a group ministry to continue to grow, it’s essential that the church continue to add staff throughout the ministry’s growth stages. Think ahead and be ready to ask for more staff members before the need for them arises. And, if you can’t hire full-time staff, part-time staff members, if led well, can be difference makers.
- Over promising – In most situations the small group point person is asked annually to turn in a budget to the finance team for consideration. Some overzealous group pastors dream dreams without considering what the reality really is. They promise 200 new groups in the upcoming year and ask for the finances required to train the leaders of those new groups, pay childcare costs, etc… When they only attain half of that goal the finance team is disappointed… and skeptical. When the groups pastor goes back to that same finance team the following year, the year they really will start 200 new groups, they are more than likely to get half of what they’re asking. When making promises, make promises you know you can keep.