Ephesians 4:11-12 calls the local church to ‘equip His people for works of service, SO THAT (emphasis mine) the body of Christ may be built up.’ Ministry leads do not manage volunteers; we equip the saints for good works of service. We have the privilege of inviting God’s people into His call on every believer’s life: to share the gospel and use their gifts and skills to share that gospel.
We are invited to provide an environment where people can practice their skills and gifts to share the gospel in their world. To do so, we build relationships of trust in the areas of…
• God’s people should be able to trust the systems in place so they are each super successful. I ask myself, “Will my siblings in Christ have such a great experience with the systems in place, they will want to continue to grow in their service to God’s people”?
• They should be able to trust the resources and schedule will be provided in a timely manner for them to be successful.
• They should be able to trust the vocabulary used to communicate information will be consistent with the vocabulary of the local culture. The first thing Jesus did when he called his disciples was to teach them. 1 Timothy 4:6 reads, “Be trained in the words of the faith.”
• Walt Disney said, “Everything we do tells a story.” I say that, “Everything our servant leaders do tells God’s story as part of their story.” Connections through relationship, not meetings, invite people to see God’s working in their lives.
• They should be able to trust in my leadership reputation: planner, honest, cheerleader, speak well of them, honor my family/spouse/children, even-tempered, joyful. Do they enjoy being around me, do I help them listen to their Holy Spirit and give them earned-freedoms in programming? Am I accessible/available/honorable/helpful/kind? Do I model a disciple of Jesus to the best of my ability? Am I a prayer warrior or an event planner?
• Co-lead a Bible study, be faithful to a small group of fellow disciples, growing in my own personal discipleship.
• Most ministry takes place not in programming, but in being present where the disciples are: worship services, other ministry special events, and asking, “Where can I help?” Oswald Chambers wrote, “A call is always preceded by a need.” Beth Moore wrote, “Until you know what you’re called to do, do what you are NEEDED to do.” (Entrusted). No, you can’t do everything, but you can do some things easily well, like be present where folks have access to you in Christian community.
• In Ministry Architects’ Sustainable Children’s Ministry leads do well in recruiting if they (1) pray, (2) start early, (3) identify matches (not just fill a hole set my me, but rather ask myself ‘what’s in my hands?’), (4) make a list, and (5) make contact. The best way to make contact is to be where people are (refer to the bullet point above).
• What if we tithed 10% of our time each week in growing our relationships with the people we are called to equip? We can do this by phone, ministry of presence, text, email, social media, etc. No ulterior motive, but by asking, “How can we share life so well as disciples of Jesus that we both are growing our faith together?”
• Share in the remarkable moments of life, not just the spiritual milestones of what takes place inside the walls, but rather inside their hearts.
• There are five love languages, and four languages of appreciation in the workplace. When I taught weekday preschool I told the parents, “My first goal for the first week is to find out (1) What makes your child tick, and (2) What ticks them off.” Adults are like that, too. Be a student of your servant leaders, not just the manager.
The goal of leading a team of servant leaders is to equip God’s people for works of service. The whipped cream? To make their experience such a good experience that ‘surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives’ SO THAT WE ALL dwell in the house of the Lord … together … forever. Amen.
How can you provide a better experience in your environment to equip God’s people for works of service?
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ, Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10