Church size doesn’t matter; every pastor wants to see the ratio of involved members at 80 percent rather than the usual 20 percent who may be heading for burnout.
As I consult with church leaders, on a weekly basis I hear, “We need to get more volunteers on board.” These conversations elicit the same heartfelt response from me each time: Having an equipping church with a fully functioning system is at the heart of mobilizing people for ministry.
So how do we move people from passivity to purposeful ministry? There are three major steps that any pastor can take. First, find a point person to head up the member-mobilization movement; second, implement and support mobilization teams; and third, cast a vision for an equipping church. Let’s look at each of these.
1) The Point Person
If you want to mobilize your church members, you need to invite or employ someone to serve as director of member mobilization. Our goal is to move people from generic volunteers to mobilized ministers. Without a person in the director’s position, little will ever be accomplished. Whether you choose to employ a part-time, full-time, or volunteer staff person, get someone on board. Churches that are the most successful in developing a culture of equipping have a point person on staff.
Once you have this person in place, what’s his or her role? The director’s role is to facilitate teams to develop the systems and processes for your equipping ministry. Just yesterday I received a call from a husband and wife who were newly hired at their church as part-time, paid directors of volunteer ministry. They were at a complete loss about where to begin, so I referred them to ChurchVolunteerCentral.com, Group Publishing’s organization dedicated to helping churches establish effective volunteer ministry values, processes, and systems.
2) The Mobilization Teams
What kinds of teams should be established? Most successful equipping churches include the following:
Computer Team – researches and presents its findings on software programs that work well for member mobilization. This is one of the foundational infrastructural pieces that must be in place.
Training Team – trains staff, board members, lay leaders, and strategic influencers on all aspects of the member-mobilization system.
Ministry Description Team – works with each ministry to complete ministry descriptions for every area of service in the church. Using this information, a Skills and Interests Indicator tool is created.
Interview Team – discovers the heart of each individual. People might have ideas about where they want to serve, but the team may also discover broken hearts that need to be healed before serving others is advisable. This team is critical to the success of overall mobilization.
Follow-Up Team – calls and invites people into ministry. Each ministry chooses a representative (not the ministry leader) who agrees to be a follow-up person.
These are a few of the necessary teams that a director of member mobilization facilitates as he or she begins to embed the values for an equipping church. You’ll want to stay in close connection with your point person and these teams. By understanding and endorsing all the processes and systems they develop, you give your advocacy and support, which is critical to the success of any equipping church system.
3) The Vision
As pastor you’re called to cast the vision and carry the torch for equipping members. If you want to have a member-mobilized congregation, preach and teach about it repeatedly. Never let the flame die or the topic cool down. When members come and ask how to get involved, point them to the director of member mobilization.
Stand firmly behind the equipping ministry process, remembering Ephesians 4:11: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Calvie Hughson was the director of volunteer ministry at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of volunteer management and empowerment.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”
This article “Mobilizing Members for Ministry” by Calvie Hughson was excerpted from: www.lifeministry.com web site. August 2009. It may be used for study & research purposes only.