“We’ve got lots of opportunities. What we don’t have are the members to take advantage of any of them. Everyone is exhausted.”
- Wiped Out
Let’s be honest, the pandemic and the post-pandemic migration has been rough on all of us.
Sign Up for the Free Pastor’s Congregation Resurrection
Facebook Live Training Here. (Tuesday, August 23, 1 PM Central)
In many churches, this is the time of year when opportunities for effective church ministries begin to pop up like the proverbial Whack-a-Moles. Back to school, recent relocations (August is one of the most active new-movers’ months in the year), and the end of summer vacations tends to inspire great ideas for back to church programming and events.
But the problem is – who’s going to step up to run and support those new ministries. I keep hearing from pastors who are saying, “I can’t even fill the ministry and leadership positions we’ve already got, let alone get support for something new.”
In fact, there are so few “available” church volunteers that reaching the 80/20 rule would be a step up for many churches. Today it’s not uncommon to see 90% of the church’s membership sitting in the stands watching the 10% trying to juggle everything the church does.
When Kris (my bride of almost 32 years) and I started a church in a Seattle suburb, we did so with virtually no members and no volunteers, so we had to get really creative to get the ministry jobs done. There was set up, clean up, follow-up, and hospitality that needed doing every week. Then there were the ongoing tasks of relationship-building and networking with the unchurched that needed more than just the two of us. Doing this work week in and week out can wear on you – especially when you’ve only got a handful of members, at least to begin with.
And yet, we managed to get almost everything done almost every week. And the mission-critical tasks were rarely left undone – like nearly never.
It wasn’t because we were super charismatic leaders with magnetic personalities … well, my wife was, but me? Not so much. But we developed three tools that we put into practice every week:
- Proof Positive
Focus: We kept the main thing the main thing. By narrowing our focus, we were able to prioritize what really needed to get done.
Enrollment: We didn’t rely on volunteers coming to us, we went to them, helped them find their passion, and enrolled them into their own vision.
Proof Positive: We shared the stories of how their ministries were transforming lives – proof that what they were doing (or would do) was making a real-world difference.
Our denominational executive kept his eye on the church start and seemed to enjoy getting together with us. He regularly commented, “I love meeting with you guys – you always have the best stories!” It turns out, when you maintain focus, get folks enrolled in a vision bigger than your own, and give them proof that it’s time-well-invested, then it’s a lot easier to raise up the ministry teams you need.
On Tuesday, August 23 I’ll be leading a one-hour Facebook Live seminar for Pastors called Congregation Resurrection where I’ll share more about the three tools that Kris and I used to get both members and even first-time visitors to step up and serve in the church’s ministry.
If you’re dealing with an exhausted, post-pandemic congregation, you’re going to want to set aside an hour to join us.