question #5: what role will the lead pastor play?
Continuing the series of "questions" that are good to consider when launching groups, community life, and discipleship environments. Knowing what role the lead pastor of the church will play is vitally important to choosing a model. And the more clear, honest communication you have about this up front, the better things will be in the long run. Here are some questions for lead pastors to think about, pray over, and honestly communicate with their group life point-person:
- Will you lead the group/community/discipleship ministry yourself or will you delegate it? How much will you delegate it?
- Will you personally lead a group?
- Will you and your family participate in a group as a family?
- Will you participate as an individual?
- Will you not participate at all?
I don't think there are right or wrong answers to any of those questions, but the answers will help you determine the best group model for your church. For instance, if the lead pastor wants to be actively involved, a G-12 type model might work really well. Larry Stockstill, who initially instilled a love of groups in me, has led this kind of model very successfully at Bethany World Prayer Center. On the other hand, my boss, Mark Batterson, takes a much more hands-off approach, making the free market approach a better option for us. Mark values groups, prioritizes leadership training events, communicates the importance of group life, and occasionally leads groups, but for the most part, he has delegated the vision and execution to me. He views himself as the leader of the staff of NCC and that is his small group.
One final thought- regardless of what role the lead pastor takes in the group life of the church, it is absolutely important that they equip, encourage, and empower the person leading that charge. Mark has modeled this incredibly well, giving small groups the pulpit, significant budget, and a voice on the executive decision-making level of the church. A great relationship between a discipleship or group life pastor and the lead pastor can make all the difference!