According to a recent Gallup Poll, 67% of American workers are NOT engaged at work. This means that 67% of the American workforce are merely stamping a time card and doing what is required to make it through the day. These individuals are trudging their way through life and constantly looking to see if the grass is greener on another workspace.
While the church is not primarily a place of employment, it is a place where people come to serve. And, if the majority of the American workforce feel like what they do Monday through Friday is sucking their soul away, then pastors/church leaders would do well to discover what energizes, excites, and encourages those who engage with the church on a weekly basis. Otherwise, service and volunteering in the local church is just another timecard to punch and activity to endure.
Here are two things that can be done to help discover what motivates and energizes those within the context of your church and how to leverage those things to build a church that is excited to serve:
Find out what your congregation does well. Notice what was said, “Find out what your congregation does well.” While there are a large number of resources to help you discover the talents of an individual in the congregation, it is an entirely different thing to learn what the congregation as a whole is good at. A few suggestions: conduct member interviews (newer/older in membership & younger/older in age), read everything available about the church’s history, go into individual small groups/Sunday school classes and have conversations about what they’re passionate about. In my church, we recorded a few of the interviews, and when we reviewed them, we wrote down all of the similar words/phrases that were used. It was incredible to see a common theme emerge from what those individuals felt like the church did well. When a church body is united around things that they do well, then they feel better about doing them, and they are energized and excited after they’ve been done.
Discover the common skills that exist in the congregation. By understanding the skill sets that exist in your church, you’re able to better target the ministry opportunities that would fit your congregation. For example, a church may do well at ministering to foster/adoption families through meeting practical needs; food, clothing, babysitting, finances, etc. But if a handicap ramps are required for special needs children in the community and that skill set isn’t present in the church, then this would type of ministry would be out of the common skills of the congregation and best accomplished through another means.
These two points seem ridiculously simple but so many of us pastors ignore them because of a desire to make our churches something that it is not. Your church is not the church down the street, and it is NOT the church in the latest 50 to 5000 in 5 Years and How You Can Do It Too book. Your church is made up of a unique congregation with unique skill sets. When you take the time to discover those skill sets you can begin the process of forming a mission that energizes the passions and utilizes the skills that exist in your God-knit body of believers.
This type of intentionality helps you avoid the trap of exhausting those in your congregation with ministry opportunities that they may not be made for. Think about it; in your job, there are things that energize you and things that drain you. If all you ever did was what drained you, then it wouldn’t be long till you quit and looked for some place else. The same applies for those that are serving in your church.
This post is a part of a series of posts that are written to help new (and old) Pastors/Church Leaders improve the long-term health of those places where God has placed them. The previous posts are as listed below. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope that you’ve been encouraged and equipped with practical resources to help you lead well in your ministry context.
- I’m a Pastor! Now What?
- The Outside of the Puzzle Box
- The Work of the Ministry: 3 Questions to Discover God’s Purpose for Your Church
- 4 Needs of the Community Surrounding Your Church