The next two days are big days for me. My entire Advisory Board for my ministry will all converge upon San Antonio for our annual meeting. We will discuss all that we have seen God doing in the past year and we will chart the course for the coming year. For 9 years now this excellent (and growing) group of men and women have come from all over (at their own expense) for this event. They have come to represent many of my closest friends. And yet, I still get anxious about it.
I just cannot help but worry that any of them would ever leave one of these meetings and begin to wonder if their involvement is worth the trouble. I worry that any of them would ever wonder whether their investment in this ministry is really making a difference. I worry that they will not feel challenged to dream new dreams and to roll their sleeves up and get involved.
Yes, I am a little insecure here. No, I probably don’t really need to worry. But I think this kind of worrying is actually pretty healthy.
And we should probably do more of it in the church as well.
There was a study done several years ago in churches–I don’t remember who did it, probably the Barna Group, not sure (I’m racking up “lazy blogger” points here…sorry). It showed that a huge percentage of new church members who were not actively engaged in ministry or some kind of ministry-related service within 6 months of joining the church would never engage in ministry nor otherwise ever be “active” in that church. No real surprise there. We all know that a person’s motivation and passion for investing in the ministries of a church are probably never again as high as the day he/she joins the church. This finding simply says we should strike while the iron is hot.
There is irony in that finding. Our churches today are spending all kinds of energy and resources trying to win consumers by being more entertaining or by having prettier buildings or by otherwise tickling the fancy of their consumer community. But if that is our best plan for keeping people engaged in church, then that will also become the reason people eventually leave our church for another more entertaining one. No, far deeper than the consumer mentality in people is a genuine Spiritual need to make a difference in their world. We, the church, must afford every member that opportunity…not just many members, and not even most members…every member.
That means your church needs an intentional, comprehensive system in place to accomplish this very important task: to make sure every new member finds a place to make a difference in people’s lives. It means your church has to have plenty of ministries going on, in order to have opportunities for everyone to participate. It means you must have a well-run system of getting to know each new member and his/her gifts and abilities and passions. It means you must have training in place, regularly equipping new volunteers. It means you must have celebrations in place, recognizing jobs well-done by volunteers. But most importantly, it means you must be constantly casting vision so that everyone can see his/her part in the bigger picture.
Frankly, it is a ton of work. And it requires passionate leadership with lots of help around them. But if you are wondering why you are losing your people or why they just don’t seem to be very motivated, then it may be time to consider a radical shift in this direction. Mobilize your people. You’ll be glad you did.
© Blake Coffee
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on this website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Blake Coffee.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: © Blake Coffee. Website: churchwhisperer.com
6 responses to “Are Your Members Involved in Ministry?”
I like what you said about “worry” (that is, concern) in the church. You’re right – I think that we need to be seeking excellence in ministry much more than many of us do. Good challenge. Hope the meeting goes well.
This is a tricky one. In my local fellowship, we have a general policy that says people can’t get involved in leadership roles until they’ve been coming for at least six months. I think that of course makes sense – we can’t have people leading who are only there to lead, not follow or just show up.
But it makes me wonder what we really want. When we start attending a particular fellowship, do we want to be leaders… or just get involved? To me, getting involved means becoming available… and just showing up. But that’s not to popular.
So I hear what you’re saying – I just wonder how to balance getting people involved with building faithfulness first. What does “involved” and “active” mean anyway?
-Marshall Jones Jr.
I think that when we clock out at five on weeknights and on the weekends that we clock out of being in ministry mode as well. I believe that there is not enough teaching about being active in ministry and our responsibility as Christians, the percentage of armchair Christians compared to those serving in some capacity must be staggering. And every year a Christians value to the kingdom of God increases, more relationship with Jesus=more wisdom and insight to offer. It may not be glamorous and it is not wisdom to give a teaching position to a brand spankin new convert, but Christians need to be taught that God has placed within us great value. The more we pour out love on others, the more God fills our tank!
I believe that the church generally can be very much a clique. Often people who have been faithfully attending church for years, are overlooked when it comes to leadership roles. The clique of leadership is usually very tight and those who are overlooked often feel that their God-given talents are wasted. I think this is a shame as the Body of Christ would benefit greatly by more faithful and willing helpers in the Kingdom being allowed to serve in places other than the Church kitchen, serving tea and coffee.
Sir, I am the Director of “HHH” (Helping Hands for Handicapped). I am Sena Singh from India. We serve the ministries, churches, schools, houses and different people to translate and proofread or recheck their words (written and recorded) and websites into our languages, Korean, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish, French, Turkish, Nepali, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Urdu, Punjabi and many other languages.
If you need any assistance please feel free to ask us. Thank you.
This is true and people should be told.