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4 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group

I’ve been in full-time ministry for 35 years. During that time I’ve served in a number of different roles such as a missionary, senior pastor, associate pastor and missions pastor. No matter what role I have been in, I am almost always leading a small group—sometimes more than one group.4 Reasons

There are four reasons why every pastor should lead a small group:

  1. Small groups are at the heart of church health. The guys from Natural Church Development have done the most extensive research ever on church health involving over 50,000 churches. The results show that “holistic small groups” impact the numerical growth and the qualitative health of churches more than any other factor (Natural Church Development, p. 33). This is true of churches of all sizes, but the analysis reveals that groups become even more pivotal to health and growth as churches get larger.
  2. Pastors’ involvement in small groups greatly multiplies the leadership base of the church. As John Maxwell so powerfully communicates in his best-selling book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, leaders attract leaders, and the higher level of leader you are, the higher level of leaders you attract. When pastors lead small groups it pulls high level leaders into the relational life of the church, igniting much needed leadership multiplication.
  3. Jesus led a small group. I know this sounds trite but it’s very true. If you are a pastor, you should do what Jesus did and lead a group. Jesus’ small group was at the center of his ministry, enabling him to make disciples who make disciples, laying the foundation of the growing movement he was establishing. When I was doing my master’s research on Jesus’ leadership development methods, I was curious just how much of Jesus’ time he devoted to leadership training. Unable to follow Jesus with a stopwatch, I looked at the verses recounting Jesus’ ministry in the Gospel of Mark and tallied how many of these he is with just his small group—the twelve disciples. It’s a whopping 49%. Clearly, pouring into others through modeling, instruction, prayer and interaction was at the heart of his earthly ministry. It should be at the heart of our ministries too.
  4. Finally, for your spiritual health you need to be in a small group. The New Testament is filled with dozens of different “one another” commands like “love each other,” “be devoted to one another,” “encourage each other,” “carry one another’s burdens,” and “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” This kind of body life doesn’t happen in a Sunday morning service; it happens in the context of caring small groups. Every Christ-follower needs this kind of community. You need this kind of community if you are going to thrive in leadership.





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4 Responses to 4 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group

  1. Michael Mack November 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    Great post,k Jim, and so true! I’m printing this out and taking it to every church I consult with!

  2. Katy December 31, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    Thanks for this post-Jim! I love your blog and reading your thoughts on small groups. I think a lot of your points could also be carried over to the idea that Pastors should be an active member in a small group, being led and cared for by a lay leader.


  1. Jim Egli on Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group – Small Group Leadership - July 25, 2016

    […] churches, if it gets into the right hands. With Jim’s permission, I’m sharing here his “4 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group.” I will share only his four main points and then add my own commentary to them. To read his original […]

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