“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.
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.
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?
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!