- What would you like to know about progress in our small-group ministry?
- How often would you like me to communicate with you about small-group ministry progress?
Small groups will work better in your context if you are committed to asking and getting answers to these questions. This exercise will give you immediate insight regarding expectations, strategies, and communication. Realistically, if you aren't willing to spend the energy getting answers to these questions, you're in the wrong church or you've already given up on the relationship you have with your pastor.
3. Communicate how your ministry is winning and losing.
Tell your pastor about your successes. Celebrate your wins! Share stories of changed lives and victories of goals met. Sharing the good news helps your pastor know what efforts are being successful in the small-group ministry.
You can't just share the good news, though. Tell your pastor about your ministry struggles, too. Be honest about how you assess your ministry's progress. Don't ever blow smoke. Nothing erodes trust with a leader faster than false or inaccurate information. Your pastor wants you to succeed, so don't be afraid to share your honest evaluations about the ministry. Your pastor can't help you be successful while being kept in the dark.
4. Ask for your pastor's support.
I once had a young small-group pastor ask me how to get the support of his senior pastor, and I replied with a question: "Have you asked for his support?" The young man stammered for a moment then said, "It never occurred to me." The moral of this story: ask your pastor for help when you need it. If you need your pastor to make an announcement regarding groups, ask for it. If you need your pastor to come to a training meeting, ask him or her to be there. If you need your pastor to promote a curriculum, ask him or her to review it and write a recommendation. If you need help recruiting or need suggestions for new leaders, ask for your pastor's support. The bottom line is this: never say "no" for your pastor. Clearly communicate what you need and when you need it. Give your pastor the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" on his or her own.
5. Give more support than you request.
This final point is the most important. Do you remember Jesus' command, "Love your neighbor as yourself?" The principle of that command applies to your relationship with your pastor. If you want your pastor to support you, you must support your pastor. Be your pastor's number one advocate. Never talk negatively about your pastor. Don't disrespect his or her authority. Don't roll your eyes at his or her suggestions. Ask how you can help. Serve your pastor. By putting yourself last, you will gain your pastor's respect. Your pastor will be much more likely to support your ministry when there is mutual respect and support.
Every church with small-group ministry must have one indispensable staff person. No, I'm not talking about a small-group pastor. I'm not talking about a small-group champion, administrator, director, or coordinator. The position every successful small-group church must have is a Senior Pastor of Small Groups. What do I mean? As a senior pastor myself, I can say with absolute certainty that no church can have a truly successful small-group ministry unless the senior pastor is the number one supporter of the ministry. Below are some practical ideas that can help you make your small-group ministry a smashing success.