Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Recruiting Help - Do The Ask

In ministry I have at times noticed a recurring theme of frustration with many other pastors and church leaders in the area of recruiting volunteers and leaders for various ministry needs. Despite repeated public pleas for assistance the needs go unfulfilled and the leader becomes more and more frustrated at the apparent apathy from the congregation.

I too have experienced similar frustrations and have discovered a pretty simple solution. Instead of general requests from the stage or bulletin it is more productive to ask people on an individual basis. It seems the public requests often go unanswered because people are able to deflect the responsibility or simply may not be paying attention.

Here are the steps I try to follow when recruiting ministry help or leadership over an area.

  • Pray about it - Ask God to give wisdom and guidance about who should serve and in what capacity.
  • Get suggestions - Talk with other leaders about who they see as potential workers or leaders.
The Meeting
  • Make the appointment - Set a time to meet with the person about the opportunity. It also never hurts to buy them lunch.
  • Share with them the vision for the area you are asking them to serve in or lead. This is important. If you are not clear on what you are asking them to do, they will have no clue. Be sure to be passionate about the offer. Enthusiasm really is contagious.
  • Tell them how they are specifically gifted for this area and how they can make their mark.
  • Give them ownership. It does no good to delegate help and then never let them actually help.
  • Tell them to pray about the offer.
Follow Up
  • Check back with the person at a predetermined time. Answer any questions. If they accept then begin training them in their new responsibilities.
  • Continue to provide supervision and feedback. If this is a leader you have recruited make sure to make time to meet with them and provide additional advice and encouragement. If it is someone who is serving in a specific ministry area make sure their team or ministry leader is following up with them.
  • Make sure to get referrals from you new recruit as to others they see who may also be willing to serve. If the person you recruited is a team leader encourage them to repeat this process within their own team to develop and grow new volunteers and leaders.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Encouraged to Go

A recent conversation with a friend revealed to me that he and his wife were praying about the possibility of relocating from their current home in the Nashville area. This young couple is involved in one of the LifePoint campuses there but is trying to determine if God is calling them to possibly be a part of one of the other LifePoint campuses which are located in Seattle, Bangkok and Belgium. I did my best to offer advice based on my own experience of discerning God's will in such matters. One piece of this advice was for this friend to talk to as many people as possible about these thoughts.

It was at this point that I became thankful for the culture that God has created at LifePoint. Our goal as a church is to send people to be the church where there is no church. This simple statement is being fulfilled repeatedly in the lives of so many people. This unnamed friend is not the first to be thinking like this. I am amazed at how God continues to call people to accomplish His purpose among the nations.

What is equally encouraging is that my friend is able to ask these questions and discern God's calling in an environment that promotes this type of thinking. It seems that our churches often become a place in which we try to raise up leaders and hold on to them. Instead we are called to raise up new leaders for the purpose of sending them out to make an impact on the rest of the world.

I am convinced more now than ever that the church cannot be dependent solely on organizations such as the International Mission Board. Although the IMB is an incredible agency that has accomplished an incredible amount for the Kingdom it is simply not enough. The estimated 5000 SBC missionaries are not enough to reach the 5 billion people who do not know Christ. It is going to take people like my friend who are willing to accept God's call to go wherever He directs and to make an impact for His name in another culture and context.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Year In Review

As we enter the new year I (like many others) am once again setting a goal to begin posting in a regular fashion to my blog. It seemed best to make the first post for the new year a summary of what happened in the life of our church plant in 2010. So here goes...

The last year proved to be a very fruitful time for our ministry here in the Northwest. The first few months of the new year were marked by steady growth of new families coming to our church. Many of the families that began attending in 2010 are still heavily involved in the life of our church. In addition to the numeric growth our church witnessed a great season of leadership development. We have seen several men and women step up to serve in areas such as the children's ministry, worship band, and set up teams. We are very blessed to not only have people serving in these areas but to also have several people that have accepted leadership roles over these ministries.

In addition to leadership development we saw a great amount of spiritual development in the lives of many of our members. Our church went through a series called Radical based on the book by David Platt with the same name. At the end of this series we challenged our people to a Radical Commitment which involved things such as reading through the Bible, praying for the world, giving sacrificially, and being part of a small group. As a result we now have many people who are reading through Scripture, giving of their time and money, and committing to go on mission trips. We even have over %90 of our people involved in small groups. One of the best markers of the spiritual growth is the act of baptism. We have seen 6 people be baptized in the later months of 2010 and we already have someone else ready to be baptized in 2011.

The previous year was full of outreach events such as block parties on Halloween and July 4th in which we reached out to the local communities. We partnered with the city of Lynnwood for a very successful Egg Hunt reaching hundreds of families. We have also continued to partner with several different organizations in the community through our small groups. Many of these outreach events were accomplished through the hard work of multiple mission teams from various churches that traveled to the Northwest to assist us in our ministry to the community.

As you may know 2010 also provided us with an exciting opportunity. Connect Church began with the help of several valuable partner churches and individuals. One of these partner churches, LifePoint Church approached us last year with an offer to merge and become a LifePoint campus in the Seattle area.

After much prayer, discussion, and seeking wise counsel the leadership of Connect agreed to merge with LifePoint. The merger did not require us to sacrifice any of our vision, purpose, or core values as a church because these same ideals were held by LifePoint. Our church went through this transitional process very well. For the most part all of the daily operations and ministries of our church have remained the same. What has been different is the additional resources this merger has provided our church. This has given us a stability that most church plants cannot enjoy. Furthermore, it has greatly expanded our opportunities around the world by allowing us to partner with other LifePoint campuses in Bangkok and Belgium and other ministries in Africa, South America and Asia.

Overall, we believe that 2010 was a very successful year for the life of this church. However, it is important to note that God alone deserves all of the glory and credit for these accomplishments. He is the One who promised to build His church. We are thankful that we have been able to be a part of the process.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1