Calvary Church of the Nazarene Huntsville, Alabama

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Motivating Lay Involvement in Ministry

 

The Church is the people of God. Throughout her history, certain ones from among this people have been called of God to the position of leadership. They have performed various functions. As varied needs have arisen, both within and without the church, select people have been called, chosen, and/or appointed to meet those needs. The purpose has not been one of establishing some kind of permanent structure, but rather responding to various ways by which to fulfill the church=s mission.

The core conviction of scriptural revelation is that every Christian is in the ministry (II Cor. 5:18-20). Furthermore, Athere are varieties of ministries@ (I Cor. 12:5), some of which are leadership positions. These positions are not intended to be hierarchical offices for the display of talents but rather positions for the performance of ministry and the enabling of others to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:7-16). Throughout her history, various kinds of service or ministry have had to be performed to the church, as well as to the world. Again, behind it all is the overarching purpose of enablement for the maximum meaningfulness of ministry.

One of the leadership positions in the church is that of Apastors and teachers@ (Eph. 4:11) whose primary task is that of Athe equipping of the saints for the work of service/ministry@ (Eph. 4:12). The body of Christ has to do with service. Pastors are not called to do all the works of ministry but to enable all the people to do some works of ministry. All are Acalled@ of God, but Asome@ out of the Aall@ are especially called to equip the rest.

How can pastors best motivate lay involvement in ministry? The following suggestions are directed toward that objective. I have been involved in this on both lay & minister levels.

1. Preach and teach the biblical undercurrents in this regard (cp. passages noted above).

The main ministry is to witness. As the people are equipped, they are to go into the world and give testimony on the basis of Jesus Christ.

2. Make books on this subject available in the church library (Your Other Vocation by

Elton Trueblood; Help! I=m a Layman by Kenneth Chafin; The Idea of the Laity by David Haney; God=s Lively People by Mark Gibbs & T. Ralph Morton; We the People: A Book About Laity by Catherine Bliss; The People=s Church by George Goyde; A Layman Looks At the Church by Kenneth Grub; A Theology of the Laity by Hendrich Krammer; Dare To Live Now by Bruce Larson; The New Reformation by John A.T. Robertson; Called To Serve by Michael Green; The NT Image of the Ministry by W.T. Purkiser; etc.

 

3. Help the people to see the total scope of the mission of the church. In other words, assist them to have peripheral vision, seeing all the various interrelated functions of the church:

evangelism, edification, worship, nurturing, etc., not in competition but in concerted and connected parameters.

 

4. Delegate authority to the people; trust them to do the work to which they are assigned. If/When messes occur, help clean it up! Be an example of service.

 

5. Work on enhancing communication skills, the most important of which is listening. The purpose of communication is identify objectives, evaluate expectations, & help solve problems.

 

6. Evaluate feedback as to how effective their involvement in ministry is going.

 

7. Reassign ministry specifics if excessive frustration or malfunctioning occurs.

 

8. Reward every accomplishment, both intrinsically (value, worth, etc. ) and extrinsically (tangible objects: certificates, etc.)

 

9. Be enthusiastically supportive of their efforts but directionally confrontational as need dictates.

 

10. Be there for the people during crises.

 

11. Stress accountability (II Cor. 4:1-2; 5:10).

 

12. Help them develop critical thinking skills (positives & negatives) by which they can assess/reassess, evaluate/reevaluate what they are doing and how it could be improved.

 

13. Encourage them to participate with others in their special kinds of ministry.

 

14. Give them opportunities to verbally testify about their ministry opportunities (successes, defeats, emotional variations, discouragements, hopes, requests, etc.).

 

15. Pray with them over specifically expressed difficulties.

 

16. Praise God with them over itemized delights and accomplishments.

 

Dr. Morris Murray, Jr.

 

Content copyright July 2010 jmhall. All rights reserved.