How Well Do We Engage People in Ministry?
Is the work of your congregation a rewarding experience for your members? How well do you encourage and involve others in ministry?
Consider a Gallup research study of over a million talented workers which identified what they need to be successful (see: First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Great Managers Do Differently)
Ask 12 questions to measure effectiveness in attracting, retaining and developing people
“If you can answer positively to all of these twelve questions, then you have reached the summit. Your focus is clear. You feel a recurring sense of achievement, as though the best of you is being called upon and the best of you responds every single day. You look around and see others who also seem to thrill to the challenge of their work. Buoyed by your mutual understanding and your shared purpose, you . . . look out and forward to the challenges marching over the horizon. . . it is quite a feeling.”
Most people probably expect their church communities to be able to provide greater satisfaction to these questions than other organizations
The 12 Questions
According to the study, the 12 questions need to be satisfied in order. The first 6 questions are more critical for a strong, vibrant and effective community.
The study also identifies four key characteristics to be effective in leadership:
1. Select for individual talent
Match individual with ministry according to gifts, passions, abilities, personality and experience
know the person, particularly gifts and aspirations
make assignments with personal development in mind
Help equip individual according to gifts and desires, not according to what church needs
Rather than feeling miscast, individuals will work in roles for which they have the right talents, skills and experience
2. Set expectations for outcomes
“Expectations” are “what we are looking forward to”
Make each person responsible for helping to meet the vision and for personal spiritual development
Rather than lacking direction, individuals and teams will focus on the steps they need to take to reach common goals and will feel that they are respected and recognized for their work and growth
3. Motivate positively and personally
Prepare others for ministry through encouragement, training, spiritual direction and practical supervision (coaching more than classes, lectures, seminars or workshops)
Build close, open relationships. Actively listen. Provide help, support and the necessary resources.
Involve the person in deciding on and setting goals and targets. Show enthusiasm and belief in the person. Acknowledge the person's successes.
All of these leadership activities require time for, presence with, and attention to followers
4. Help people grow
Purpose is not to move up a ladder of success but for “all of us” together to “come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)
Holy Spirit provides the gifts for ministry (I Corinthians 12; Romans 12; Colossians 1) and gifted leaders help “equip” others for ministry (Ephesians 4:11)
A worker’s question about personal growth – “have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?” – is all the way down the Gallup list at question 12
All of the other components – good mentors, friends, purposes, expectations, tools and opportunities – also need to come together to support personal growth
Much of this is personal, focusing on individual needs, rather than program or structure:
Do I care for each individual I lead as a person? (question 5)
Am I daily or weekly offering recognition or praise for doing good work? (question 4)
Am I encouraging his or her development? (question 6)
Have I talked with the individual about his or her progress? (question 11)
Questions for Discussion: How are we equipping others for ministry?
How would members of our community respond to each of the 12 questions?
How is our church community doing with each of the four ways to unlock the potential of each Christian worker?