You Can Not Multiply if You Will Not Mobilize

Ministry where a few people are doing the work and the church is expecting them to keep doing it can be terribly frustrating.

How do we mobilize people in the rows of our congregations to action, to ministry, to mission? Here are three things that need to happen to mobilize your people.

Create an Atmosphere of Expectation

Increasing expectations is key to mobilizing people out of the pews. Paul helps us to know our role as pastor in Ephesians 4.

And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head ​— ​Christ. 16 From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. (Eph 4:11-16, CSB)

Pastors must lead their churches to fulfill this God-ordained mission by equipping the saints for the “work of ministry.” Some churches set expectations before people can serve in ministry like finishing a membership class, being baptized, and signing a membership covenant. Other churches have their people finish a process to discover their gifts.

Churches that people join tend to have clear expectations from the beginning, recruit workers one-to-one, provide entry level ministry for new workers, and so on. There’s a helpful chart from Chuck Lawless in chapter 7 of Comeback Churches for more on this.

Instead of burning out a few who do all the work in a church, the goal is to maximize the number working in ministry. People need to be taught that the pastoral leadership of the church is there to equip them for the work of ministry. It’s their responsibility to do the work. They are the church.

Create an Atmosphere of Equipping

The local church must have a strategy not only to get as many as possible into ministry, but also a strategy, or process, to equip people for ministry. You start with gift-discovery and a placement process. Then you continue by working to create enough entry level ministry positions, face-to-face recruiting, recognition and affirmation, etc. You can’t just have a position, but the means to train them for the position.

Get people involved quickly, exploring different ministries, and recognizing where they excel and have leadership potential. And make sure they aren’t just sustaining the church building. Get everyone involved in evangelism!

Create an Atmosphere of Empowerment

You need people to feel empowered and enabled for ministry. Don’t just expect people to “get it.” Preach, teach, and train your congregation. It can take time to empower the people for ministry, especially if they don’t have a good understanding of their gifting. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in three years. It has to be communicated in different ways at different times for it to sink in over time.

Structure breeds confidence. When there is a well thought through process, it helps people feel led and empowered.

Empowering people requires giving them authority along with responsibility. They need ownership that it’s their job to get done.

And people need affirmation. They need to be appreciated for their ministry activity and involvement. Give them a quick “thank you” note. Let them know their effort didn’t go unnoticed.

It’s not enough that you as a leader feel empowered for your ministry, you have to empower others.

Learn more about mobilizing your congregation – connect with an Auxano Navigator.

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Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

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