Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders 5 Lies Small Group Pastors Believe

5 Lies Small Group Pastors Believe

5 Lies Small Group Pastors Believe

What are the lies small group pastors believe?

I know. You may think you’re above this kind of behavior. But I have to tell you…I’ve fallen for a couple of these myself.

Have you?

5 Lies Small Group Pastors Believe

You are the best one to make this announcement.

Imagine a loud horn blaring whenever anyone says this to you (or you say it to yourself). It’s almost never even close to being true.

The most influential person in almost every church is the senior pastor. Churches with senior pastors as small group champions have a much easier time encouraging and inviting everyone to join a group.

Allowing the senior pastor to delegate the champion role to you or anyone else always leads to minimal participation. Any church can connect those most prone to community. If you hope to connect the larger number in your congregation and crowd, you must harness the influence of your senior pastor as champion.

An annual groups push allows us to put the strongest focus on getting connected.

Again. Imagine a loud horn blaring. Settling for an annual groups push fails to take into consideration several important realities.

  • Unconnected people are almost always your least frequent attenders. Developing a year-round groups strategy dramatically increases your chances of connecting unconnected people.
  • Unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again. Every unconnected person has a closing window of opportunity. Many windows will certainly close between annual emphases.
  • Not all unconnected people respond to same invitation. Some are new to the community (and will respond to simple opportunities to connect). Some have had a challenging year (and will respond to an opportunity for a new beginning). Still others will be drawn to a particular topic of study (as opposed to an overt invitation to community). Offering multiple invitations to connect, spread strategically across the calendar, provides the best opportunity to connect the largest number of people.

Providing and promoting a menu of belonging and becoming options isn’t hurting anything.

The truth is, promoting only the best next step connects the largest number of people. Carefully designing an easy, obvious and strategic first step out of the auditorium leads to greater connection.

Developing (or allowing) a menu of options is a great temptation. After all, doesn’t providing more choices give something for everyone? For every taste?

Actually…no. It turns out that offering more choices leads to fewer selections; fewer purchases. This is true in retail, restaurants, travel, etc. Carefully designed, perfectly tailored opportunities lead to greater participation; carefully designing an easy, obvious, and strategic first step out of the auditorium leads to greater connection.

We will be better positioned to launch a church-wide campaign next year.

Sadly, the wait until next year approach is a compromise that leaves so much opportunity on the table. In addition, it fails to take into consideration the closing window facing every unconnected person.

There may be some things that can wisely put off (i.e., building a building before optimizing your space, hiring available instead of holding out for great, etc.). Taking advantage of the best way to connect the largest number of unconnected people is not one of them.

I don’t need to be in a group.

I don’t need to be in a group is usually accompanied by, “I get my sense of community and accountability by connecting with leaders and coaches.” Or maybe, “I get community and accountability from the staff team.” Or how about this one: “My other responsibilities are more important.”


The truth is you can’t sell something you’re not smoking (truth is truth). There is nothing more compelling than a truly satisfied customer leading the marketing effort.

The truth is, whatever you want the members of your groups to experience must be experienced first by you. Think about it. If it’s true that a leader can’t take you anywhere they’ve never been, it follows that whatever you want the members to experience must be experienced by the leader first. And whatever you want your leaders to experience must be experienced by their coach first. And whatever you want your coaches to experience….

See it?

This article originally appeared here.

Previous articleShifting Blame: Digging Deeper on the Question of Church Attendance and Family Ministry
Next article5 Tips to Creating Landing Pages for Your Church Website
Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.