Excerpt #6. The Senior Pastor’s Enthusiastic Involvement
NOTE: In conjunction with the release of our new book about men’s discipleship ministry, No Man Left Behind, we are publishing 12 excerpts to give you a taste of the book. This one is from Chapter 6, “The Three Strands of Leadership.”
Bill Bright was fond of saying, “Everything boils down to leadership.” We believe him. Our experiences with churches who are discipling men bears this out. Your ministry with men will be a reflection of the leaders God raises up within your church. This chapter helps you gather and train leaders to sustain a vibrant ministry with men in your church. In this excerpt we look at one of those three strands…
Leader Strand #1 – The Senior Pastor’s Enthusiastic Involvement
Tom is a lay leader in his church. An accomplished businessman, Tom was adept at organizing and influencing. Luckily for his church, Tom also had a heart for small groups.
For years Tom labored, with the blessing and public support of his pastor, building up a small group ministry in his church. He prayed, recruited group leaders, oversaw training, organized curriculum, counseled, and worked his heart out. He was able to build a small group ministry in his church with over 100 adults each week.
Then, after seven years, his pastor caught the small group “bug.” Suddenly, he realized how effective small groups could be for the spiritual development of his congregation.
So one spring, with the counsel and support of his elders and Tom himself, the pastor began a series of sermons about community and small groups. Over the course of several months he laid out before the congregation the importance of relationships. He decided to cancel their normal Wednesday night activities and replace it with a designated “home group night.”
That fall, on the first Wednesday of the new initiative, over 700 adults participated in small groups.
Tom worked for seven years to build a small group ministry with 100 people. Then the Senior Pastor sets a date, preaches a few sermons, reorganizes the schedule, and – voila! – 700 people get involved.
Your pastor will ultimately determine where the primary intellectual, financial and spiritual resources of the church are invested. If the senior pastor is involved in a program or initiative, it will get a budget, staff support, rooms when they need it, and plenty of publicity.
Support is not involvement. Our research suggests that support of the ministry by a pastor is good, but involvement is a lot better. If your pastor takes a personal interest in the process and health of your discipleship ministry with men, you have a huge head start.
This issue is one of the major complaints we hear from men’s ministry leaders. “My pastor is just not behind us.” “Our pastor never attends our men’s events.” “The men’s activities barely get a mention from the pulpit.”
That’s ironic, because every pastor wants to see his men become disciples. But many pastors have been burned by men’s ministry. In the past they have supported it, defended it, invested their time, and given it creative energy. But men’s ministry didn’t want to work. This was repeated for two, three, and maybe even four failed attempts.
Your senior pastor’s involvement can make or break any program. Read about the other two strands of leadership and find over 20 ways to become your pastor’s ally in No Man Left Behind.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.