One question I find myself asking church leaders is “What is it like to be on your team?”
When we ask our current question, “How will we help them find a place to serve?", we must first consider how to help people discover their gifts and find a place to use them. Then, we must develop training and evaluation strategies that can help people find real success and satisfaction in their ministry efforts. In order to answer this question completely, however, we must answer yet another important question: What is it like to be on your team?
Now, I’m not going to weary you with stories of bad ministry experiences. Let’s just acknowledge that some of our people have had some of those through the years. Instead, consider what it would be like if everyone wanted to be on your team. How much fun would that be?
I’ve seen that happen. In fact, I watched it unfold in a church I once pastored. Her name is Stephanie and she was (still is, I believe) the nursery director for that congregation. Now, first understand that a baby boom had struck that once small congregation such that 15% of Sunday’s attendance could often be found in Stephanie’s little group of sub-3 year olds. Seriously, as pastor I did 230 baby dedications in less than ten years (and only 30 funerals). During that span we went from a three-baby nursery to dozens packing the crib room in each of our three services. We were “Babies R Us” before “Toys R Us” got the idea.
How do you manage all that? You need to meet Stephanie…
Somehow, this young mom had an army of women and men that couldn’t wait to be a part of her team. Though each service required more nursery workers than the entire Sunday school staffs of most churches, Stephanie seemed to always have enough–actually, more than enough.
How? everyone wanted to be on Stephanie’s team. You see, she invested in her team. If you were on Stephanie’s nursery team, she valued you, made sure you had what you needed to succeed, and helped you grow along the way. While the “cool” people in a church usually want to be youth sponsors (and we had those cool people too), there was a whole different level of “want to” when it came to Stephanie’s team. I even saw several middle-aged men join her team. These guys, many of them new grandpas, had reached a place in their journeys where holding babies and playing with toddlers was reinvigorating their lives. I teased that I would get them t-shirts that said, “Real Men Work Nursery.” Frankly, I wanted to join them, but had preaching responsibilities in the other room.
You see, there’s no shortage of workers in a local church. Sometimes there’s a shortage of willing ones. When you spot an excited team that loves working together and knows their making a major difference, recruiting gets a whole lot easier. And all that happened because an excellent leader made investing in her team her greatest priority.
How can you do that? Build a strategy for such investment. Maybe you could read a book together and learn from its principles. Buy a copy for everyone, at least the first time, and you’ll see it’s worth the initial investment. Why not plan a cookout just for your team? You can email articles you find that can enhance their moments of serving. Just send random “I appreciate you” texts, especially after a big effort. Always keep the joy and value of your ministry effort in front of those leaders. It’s the “why” that keeps all of us going.
When people begin to love being on your team, you’ll find an extraordinary momentum you may have never thought possible. Give your best to them as they give their best for you and you’ll help them experience giving their best for Jesus in a whole new way.
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