Last week, we explored the pastor’s greatest responsibility in building a healthy church is to GROW. And, we discussed the first expression of that priority—building a strategy for personal growth.
The second expression of the word GROW is to GROW a few. Jesus demonstrated this pattern when He called disciples to be nearest Him and drew a group of three even closer.
Awhile back, a pastor in Wyoming called my office. He was struggling to figure out what he could do to grow his church. Pastoring about sixty ranchers, whose sun-up to sundown rhythms dominated every day, he was paid a full-time salary to hold one Sunday morning service each week. He told me their schedules prevented additional services, Sunday school hours, or midweek efforts, so he couldn’t figure out how to pursue more. My first thought was to offer myself as an associate, but I figured there might already be a long line for such an assignment.
Instead, we concluded that his best step was to pull three or four of those ranchers together, maybe around a lunch table at the local diner, and begin to grow them by sharing life and the Word of God together. By consistently investing in their lives, he could establish a foundation—a core of leaders—that could strengthen his church. We decided that after walking with the first group for a few months, he could add a second group using the same diner at breakfast time.
This is how discipleship happens. This is how a leader develops other leaders—just a few at a time. I had two youth pastors do that for me. I remember John Skinner and Phil Kreiling both pulling me and a few other guys into meeting together week after week to know God, ourselves, and each other better.
You see, the number one frustration pastors feel is an inability to get people involved in ministry. Developing leaders and workers is the missing piece for most. But Pastor, if you begin investing in a few, you’ll establish a pattern that can strengthen your church at every stage of its future growth.
Where do you start? Start with those who want to grow. Maybe a couple of deacons and one or two others whose hearts beat with yours. Don’t frustrate yourself trying to grow someone who doesn’t want to. But gather three or four who do and get started.
Leaders who are maximizing their abilities spend 80% of their time investing in and equipping leaders. Unfortunately, many of us spend virtually no time in such efforts. Would you do that to see your church be healthy and strong?
So pastor, your part is to GROW—GROW yourself and GROW a few!