In the last Tips and Tools, I spoke about vision; today, I will share a very important tool for the success of your ministry vision. That tool is TEAM. Most effective ministry leaders have a team around them to help the ministry grow. Team members should be people who can strengthen your weak areas or blind spots.
If you think you don’t have a blind spot or weakness, that is your first blind spot. Everybody has them including me. Thank God I have people around me who are strong where I am weak and consequently make the ministry stronger.
Most beginning ministries cannot afford to hire staff so look for volunteers. I am presently reading the book Churchless by the Barna Group in which they state that there are eighteen million born-again churchless Christians who are looking for a broad range of outreach and in-reach ministry options. These are people who are tired of playing church and want to do something meaningful with their time and lives.
The first rule in choosing volunteers is to look for people who are interested and motivated. Never try to talk someone into doing a job. If they are not interested and motivated, you will get a poor job performance. What usually happens is that you have to replace them which causes hurt and embarrassment. Many have left the church and some the faith because they were forced into a position and then replaced abruptly because they were not performing adequately.
In order to keep people motivated and interested, involve them in planning the project. It’s one thing to say to a person, “God called us to evangelize this neighborhood; here are some tracts – go pass them out.” But it is another thing to say “God called us to evangelize this neighborhood; how do you think we should do it?” The latter one gets them involved in ownership of the project. It will also allow you to, at some point, to turn the project over to them so God can use you in another area. That is how ministries grow.
When recruiting volunteers, be realistic about how much time you are asking them to donate. This is especially important for those who have families. If we say, for example, that the activity will only take two hours and it takes four, we could cause a volunteer to miss a family activity and could create a family problem, especially if the spouse is not a believer.
Another thing that is important is to tell your volunteers who their co-workers will be. Why? Because, although we Christians are to love each other, the reality is that some cannot work with each other. Personalities do clash; we need to be aware of conflict and as leaders, address it quickly. Small problems become big problems if not addressed quickly.
It is important to have a good training program. Ideally, the mentor should be someone who has done the job. Good training programs and procedures are invaluable to make your ministry more effective.
Lastly, I would like to talk to you about ‘Judas syndrome’. When my wife Ginny and I first started leading TMCI, we visited many TMCI ministries. Much to our disappointment, we discovered many had stopped their ministries. The main reason for stopping was they “laid hands on someone too quickly”. I am not talking about new converts; I am talking about supposedly mature Christians who came into their ministry from another ministry or church. These migrating Christian said that they agreed with the vision of the ministry, but the reality was they did not agree and frequently had other motives.
I believe that Judas betrayed Christ because He wanted to force Christ to set up his physical kingdom on earth, He did not understand that Christ was here to set up his Spiritual kingdom.
When new people come into your ministry, have them walk with you for at least six months to a year before putting them in leadership. You need to find out what baggage they are bringing with them. If they come from a church split, they may be bringing that rebellious spirit with them. You will need to minister to them to help them get over the hurt.
You need to check if their doctrine lines up with your doctrine. Several years ago, a pastor laid hands on a couple too quickly so that they would help him. He introduced the couple to the community. When the new couple found out he was pentecostal and they were not, they proceeded to tell everyone he was of the devil. It completely ruined his reputation and that of his ministry in that area. Nine years of hard work was destroyed in three months. Never be in a rush to fulfill a position with someone you have not tested.
Next time, I am going to share some thoughts on how to raise money for your ministry.
Bishop Bob Coulter
The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by John Maxwell