“Just” a Couple People
For the last two years my wife has taken primary responsibility for our children’s ministry at Mountair. She wrote the lessons, bought the supplies, made the schedules, and wrestled with issues as the church has changed. Now that we have a fantastic new Associate Pastor who has taken on family ministry as one of his areas of focus it’s given Michelle the opportunity to reconsider her role.
As we were discussing what she’d do I was trying to help guide her based on what I know about her passions and gifts. I suggested she choose one other woman in the church and begin a spiritual friendship (yes, I understand that term may be kind 0f hokey, but what I mean is that it is intentionally focused on helping each other grow closer to God). After talking it over she decided she could handle that and choosing one more person to intentionally encourage and check up on.
One person to really invest in and one to intentionally encourage–how much will that really accomplish? The needs for ministry both within a church and in mission outside the walls are like a huge swimming pool and investing in a couple people seems like trying to fill it with a hose that’s just barely turned on. We need something that works faster!
That line of thinking (which I’ve had too often) betrays a perspective problem. Trying to fill a pool with a trickling hose is only a problem if we think there are just two or three people doing it. If the entire body of Christ is participating in addressing the ministry and mission of the church then each person contributing a little is not a problem. In fact, this is the best way for the church to go about ministry and mission.
Too many people assume the pastors and other leaders will basically do everything (including the pastors!). Their job is to show up at church once in a while and maybe join a small group. But the ministry and mission of God are less effective when many people are sitting on the sidelines. If each person found a creative and constructive way to use their gifts and passions the effectiveness of the church would be multiplied exponentially. Michelle impacting two people may not seem like much on the surface, but if everyone in our church did the same it would change us. And by focusing Michelle will have a much deeper impact than if she was trying to impact twenty women at once.
The other important piece of the whole church engaging in ministry and mission is that it keeps things from dying out. If a few people are carrying the ministry and mission of the church and a couple of them move on or get busy it radically impacts the effectiveness of the church. When everyone is filling the pool with a trickle is far far better than a couple people doing it at full blast.
(If you’re a pastor the biggest factor in seeing this happen is your teaching, encouragement, and example. You have to tell people and show them that their unique contribution to the ministry and mission of God is important. You have to lift up people who are doing “small” things–which really aren’t so small. You have to celebrate those who are using their gifts. And perhaps most difficult, you have to release people to follow their calling from God–not box them in with the positions you need filled in the church. Pastors, be encouragers and releasers!)