Getting The People Done

boss-fight-free-high-quality-stock-images-photos-photography-pins.jpg“Ministry is not about getting the job done, it’s about getting the people done.” Shaun Nepstad sat in our staff offices and shared this thought recently with our team here at Passionate Pastors. (His Passionate Pastor sessions can be found here: passionatepastors.com/videos) The statement rattled our thinking, because for so long many have assumed that to be an effective church we have to get stuff done.

Of course there’s truth to that, but it seems that more and more the church of the future isn’t focused on doing stuff as much as it’s focused on building people. After all, everything we do is so that people can encounter Jesus, so missing the people is missing the point. When Jesus called His original followers, He didn’t tell them that they’d get stuff done, until He first promised He’d make them into something great.

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:18-19 (ESV)

If we’re going to be a successful church we have to keep making people. Not just leading them, but intentionally building them and preparing them for what’s next. When it comes to building people and volunteers, here’s a three step process that we’ve seen success in.

1. RECRUIT

When we’re building teams, how we recruit people is so important. If we can’t give the vision behind why we’re asking someone to join a team, we’re simply asking them to do a job. Volunteering isn’t about getting people to do a job, it’s about getting people to fulfill their calling. Not our need, but their calling! Leading people to their calling is what we’re all about, so when we’re recruiting people we have to keep that in mind.

2. RETAIN

After we’ve recruited someone to join our team, how do we keep them there? It’s very common for people to join a team our of excitement and emotion, but if the structure of the team isn’t prepared to welcome them and give them a pathway for their life, they’ll leave. Team leaders should recognize often times it’s the pastor who got them there, but it’s now the team leader’s leadership and really stewardship that will keep them there. When you prepare to do your next push for volunteers, make sure your thinking about how they’re going to stay. What will being on this team do for them in the long run? What small group are they going to be in after they start serving? Who can they turn to when they have problems? How are they being appreciated, affirmed, and honored on a regular basis?

3. RELEASE

This is where things get difficult. The goal of our teams is to prepare people and then release them to move on to what’s next for their lives. Obviously this is not the case for each individual. Some take ten months to be released, others ten years, but the reality is we should see where we want to take them. We believe every time we meet with an individual we should know where we see them one day, and be confident in how we’re going to get them there. Jesus was a master at preparing His followers and then placing them where He saw them. This is when people know you care, when you start releasing them to greater things.

So next time you’re caught up in the list of things you’ve got to accomplish, remember that building people is a box that never gets checked. We’re always doing it, always putting effort into it, and always believing for more people to build! We love you, we believe in you and we’re praying for you!

 

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Work With What You Got

cookMany define ministry in different ways. Some say it’s advancing the kingdom of God, others describe it as teaching people to follow Jesus, even some say it’s being the “hands and feet” of Jesus. None of these explanations are wrong, and each portrays a part of God’s overall mission to reach humanity. Of course there are probably endless ways to describe the mission of an endless God, but as of lately we’ve been noticing that ministry involves work.

Now, this is not necessarily the kind of work that proves your position, or validates your devotion to God in order to get something back. This is the work is spoken of in Ephesians 2 when Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) This means, as pastor Obed often says, we aren’t saved by works, but we are saved to work.

So we all can agree that when we step into ministry we’ve got some work to do. Through Christ, we have souls to save, a gospel to preach, broken hearts to heal and so on. But in the midst of the “work of the ministry”, the temptation is to get so comfortable maintaining what we’re doing, that we never continue on to new or bigger things. When confronted with challenges, it’s easy to say things like “well this is all we’ve got”, or “we don’t have the resources to do that.” Although resources play a big part in how big something is, it doesn’t determine how impactful and fulfilling something is.

The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a) This means whatever is in front of us, we’re going to make it better and do all that we can with it. Here’s a few thoughts on how to work with what you’ve got.

1. Passion comes from who you are not what you have

Working with what you’ve got starts by being passionate about who you are. It’s easy to get passionate when you have everything you need materially, but the reality is we already have all that we need within us. (See 2 Peter 1:3) Who we are as sons and daughters are what release passion into our souls. Not how many people come to our church, how big our building is, or how much money we’ve accumulated. Again these are all important things, but what we have shouldn’t bring us passion, it’s who we are.

2. Innovation should be your best friend

Innovation is becoming more and more valuable to the church today. With cultural changes and a constant influx of change in our society, the church needs to know how to change our methods without compromising our message. Great leaders can walk into a room and make small changes that make a big difference without spending a dime. When you look at your ministry, where are you innovating? Where are you trying new things while advancing and reaching more souls? It could be as simple as having your message outlines placed on the seats before service to as deep as changing the color of your children’s ministry walls. The point is, great leaders don’t just maintain what’s been established, they innovate and push toward what’s ahead.

3. Stewardship is a must

Jesus told a parable about three men who were given talents. When the master returned, he found two that had multiplied theres, and one who had done nothing. In his mind, he had a good reason for his actions, but in the mind of God this is far from the truth. The reality is we’ve all been given something. Some of us have big things, some of us have small things, but it’s not what we have that matters. It’s how we handle it. I’m often blown away by the faith of pastors in countries where Christianity is highly persecuted. They’re not concerned with buildings and sermon series, they’re concerned with keeping their congregations alive. They’re stewarding what they’ve been given.

In the same way, you and I have been given something to steward, something to innovate, and something to be passionate about. We’ve been trusted with the greatest message in the world, the Gospel. As the master in the parable of Jesus said to the first servant, I want to one day hear those words “Well done, good servant!” (Luke 19:17) It starts with working with what I’ve got, being passionate about who I am, innovating towards the next great things, and stewarding what’s been given to me.

We love you, we believe in you, we’re praying for you!