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How Small Churches can Build a Preaching Team

As a pastor or leader at a small church, it’s easy to feel like a lot of the church roles fall on you. Small church pastors often have to wear more hats than pastors at larger churches. One way to lighten the load is to develop a preaching team. Having a preaching team has many benefits. It brings balance to your pulpit, gives you time to rest, allows experts to preach on topics they know well, gives you opportunities to disciple and mentor other leaders, and allows others to be seen as leaders in the church. Here are six steps as you build a preaching team at your church.

Begin With Mindset

The first step in developing a preaching team is your mindset. As a leader, you need to be ready to empower others to preach. If you’re holding onto control, or want to micromanage every detail, begin by asking God to work on your heart.

To lead a healthy preaching team, you need to allow people’s own styles and personalities to shine through their sermons. This doesn’t mean you never provide outlines or preaching direction (or even manuscripts), this just means you begin with a mindset of trust and empower people to speak from their hearts and God’s voice through them.

Create Helpful Structures

If you want preaching team members to feel prepared and equipped, create a structure that’s ready to grow larger than one teaching team member. For example, if you always pick sermon topics on Saturday night before preaching, or don’t plan sermon series in advance, it will be difficult for others to step into that structure. Start developing processes and planning structures that make it easy for people to preach one week without feeling overwhelmed or out of the communication loop.

Additionally, manage your preaching team well. If you want someone to follow your preaching calendar, don’t make it sound optional. If you hope they’ll preach on a particular passage of Scripture, tell them so. Don’t leave your expectations vague if you want something specific. Clearly communicate your hopes and expectations of preaching team members. 

See Who Stands Out

As you go about daily ministry, keep an eye on who steps up to serve. Notice people who consistently say yes, who share stories of God at work in their lives, who present well, who have unique experiences to share, and who have a deep walk with Christ. 

Meet with them personally over coffee and listen to their story. Ask them if they’d pray about guest preaching or joining the preaching rotation, and communicate clearly what commitment you would need from them. Join them in prayer, asking God to lead them to say yes if they’re a good fit for your team.

Work Together

As you find people for your preaching team, allow them to shadow you and work with you when you prepare sermons. This will give them an opportunity to learn from you, and give you an opportunity to get to know their personalities, styles, and skills. As Pastor Ed Litton from Redemption Church put it in an interview with Sermonary, “Invite them in, ask them questions, and make them study the same text with you. That’s important because it engages them in the process. Then, give them opportunities to preach.”

Involve Your Team

Ask your team members to be on the lookout for potential new additions to the preaching team. If you don’t have a large staff team, ask small group leaders or trusted members to watch for potential preachers. Gather your current team or leaders, share the vision behind your preaching team, and ask them to help you find willing, capable team members. 

Ask God to Direct You

It may seem obvious, but ask God to direct you to new preaching team members. God has a beautiful plan for your church and knows who can help bring that plan to life. Spend concentrated time in prayer asking Him to lead your effort to grow a preaching team for your church.

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