5 - The Role of Senior Leadership in Group Life

Significant change needs the support of senior leadership.


In this final session, Bill Donahue discusses the crucial point of getting church leadership to support small group life in the church. If you have been struck by a great idea or feel that your action point from your printout is beginning to flesh out, you have probably already realized that you can't do this by yourself. Even a Senior Paster needs the backing of the elders to implement serious change. Listen to Bill close this course as he teaches us three levels of potential support by leadership.



There are three levels of senior leadership interaction
  1. Promotion — "We like this idea, why don't you go try it."
  2. Backing — "We are behind this and backing you with resources, advertising and position."
  3. Buy-in — "We are supporting you, and we are getting involved, and we will help fight through problems and barriers along the way."

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you had more support than you really did? How would clarity about support have helped you in that situation?
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At your church, what position do you hold when it comes to implementing new programs?

Choose one

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How are these kind of decisions, in policy or programs, normally made at your church? How does that help or hinder you in your role?
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How does it help to know the level of a support that leadership is offering? How would you like your senior leadership to communicate an intended level of support to a church member with a proposed change?
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From the biblical call for meeting together to logistical implementation to assessing the cultural bent of your church's ministry mindset, small group ministry takes careful planning and consideration. As a finish to this course, return to your practical application sheet one last time.

My Life-Changing Small Group Exercise 5
For your last step, plan how you will present your small group change to your church's Senior Leadership. For the "Who" blank, write the names of those who will need to sign off in support of this proposed change, including yourself if you are on leadership. For "How", think through the kind of support you will need to get your plan moving forward, and how you will ask for this level of help.

As a final challenge, clean up what you have written on your printout during this course (print another if necessary), prepare your presentation for the "whos" on senior leadership and go to ask for support to implement your idea.


For continued study on leading life-changing small groups, there is a follow-up course with Bill Donahue called Point Leadership. In it, he defines and counsels for the ideal point leader for the type of small group ministry that he has laid out in this course.

If you would like to read more about leadership and small group ministry, you can find Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry by Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson here.