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); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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