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Church leadership ideas, tips, and thoughts from Christian leaders. Learn about church leadership development to help you effectively manage and equip your ministry.

Volunteers – How to Find Them, Train Them, and Keep Them

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.”
– Ephesians 4:11
Certain gifts have been given to equip others for the work of ministry. The load of “doing ministry” does not, and should not, fall on the vocational pastor. Their job is to equip others for the work of ministry.

One way people can do the work of ministry is by volunteering on the local church level. They can identify their gifts, and then serve in order to bless others. It’s a terrific model that just makes sense. Allow the pastor to focus on his role as equipper, while the vast majority of saints take the lead in ministering to the church and the community.

I think we can all agree, however, that this is not what it always looks like. When I look at churches, I see the equippers doing most of the ministering, and I see the saints doing a lot of the receiving. Can you think of any ministries where it seems downright impossible to get regular, consistent, faithful volunteers? Nursery duty, anyone? This is not exactly the model set up for us in the New Testament. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely equippers who don’t like to let go of tasks or projects; they hold on tight and want to take care of everything themselves. Wouldn’t you agree that they would have a greater impact if they were to let go, equip others, and focus on their calling?

Why does it look this way? Well, I’m not 100% sure, but I do know there are strategies that we can all consider on how to raise up volunteers who love to operate within their gifts and bless others. Here are a few strategies for us to consider:

1. Find Them

Volunteers are out there. They are everywhere. But something is keeping them from serving. What are the barriers that are keeping people from stepping up to serve? Here are a couple to consider:

– Fear

This barrier can take so many different shapes. One is a feeling of inadequacy. Take someone who has a great heart for Jesus, a sound theology, and an amazing voice. They think they could use their gifts on the worship team, but they may compare themselves to the people on stage thinking they could never do that. Another could be a fear of rejection. They want to step up, but are afraid that they will be turned down. This barrier can be dealt with from the pulpit. A specific message could be preached on this topic, but I think an overall tone from the lead pastor can truly help nullify this fear.

– Apathy

Some people just don’t see why this is important. They may think that someone else can take care of the needs of the church. It’s not that they necessarily have a bad attitude, it may just be that they do not fully understand why God created them. Helping people recognize the truth behind these verses goes a long way.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:10
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:11-12
A solid understanding of these verses will help people overcome the barrier of apathy.

2. Train Them

Once you knock those barriers out of the way, it’s time for leaders to step aside and build opportunities for people to serve. It may be time for you to give up control of a certain area and allow others to step up and serve. Examples include a larger welcome team (always a good idea to have people dedicated to seeking out new people to welcome them and combat any cliques that may form within a church), a parking team, or a “have a great day team” that tells everyone goodbye as they leave. You name it; create opportunities for people to serve.

– Job Description

When you do create these opportunities, you also need to create job descriptions. Yes, even for volunteers. Especially for volunteers. Each job description will serve as a set of guidelines and expectations for the new people. This will help hold everyone to a certain standard, and it will allow you to evaluate their various gifts and talents.

– Train

Once the opportunity is created, and the job description is in place, call people to step up, then train them. Don’t just hand over the reigns to a qualified person and say, “You got this”. No way. Take the time to train these new volunteers. Let them see how you want things done at a level of excellence and commitment. This is a prime opportunity to disciple and replicate your “ministry DNA” into someone else.
The 4 stages of training are:

1. I do, you watch
This allows them to see exactly what it is you are looking for
2. We do together
Teamwork
3. You do, I watch
We don’t just want to drop them in the deep end without us being there
4. You do, I coach
Now, we don’t have to be together. You’ve entrusted the ministry to them and now you can meet on a regular basis to talk about successes and opportunities for growth

3. Keep Them

This is an important part of this process. Celebrate your volunteers. Don’t let them go unnoticed. Recognize them. It’s okay to publicly thank those who are giving their time and energy to serve the local church. Don’t be afraid to have a big dinner one night for all the volunteers in your church. Showing your appreciation will go a long way in maintaining volunteers and enticing new ones to step up to the plate.

Hopefully by implementing these strategies, you will see people step up and serve your church in ways you could only imagine.
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Leadership Principles We Live By


As I sit to write this post, I really had to think, what are the principles we live by? Haha. But it didn’t take long. My business partner and I don’t have these things written down somewhere, but we do talk about these things frequently. There are many more I’m sure that have shaped who we are, but here are 3 things we live by and hopefully will help you.

Excellence

I think this has become somewhat of a buzzword in the church world. And depending on who you talk to, it can mean a myriad of different things. To some, it means spending money, to others it’s meeting one person’s expectations. In reality, excellence is simply doing the best with what you have. That’s what we strive for. We don’t have unlimited budgets or time. Our objective is to put out the best products we can with what we have!

Reflection

The past can help us predict the future. We have a document on Google Drive called, “A Look Back.” In this document we track the numbers from years past. We track what it cost to make a certain piece, what advertisements we purchased, as well as how many it sold and the dollars associated with it. This helps us in a couple ways.

It helps us know the impact we’re having for the kingdom of God. This is something we try to keep in front of our team so it doesn’t just become cranking out videos or design pieces. We have the honor of making an eternal impact on people’s lives!

It helps us predict the future. We notice trends. We notice what types of marketing/advertising work well for us and what doesn’t. We’re able to forecast better because of this document. We know you can never truly predict what will happen in the future, but this spreadsheet has helped us a ton in where we’re heading!

Generosity

This one may come across as a little bit bragadocious, and I certainly don’t mean it that way. We just believe in people. Scripture is very clear that when you give, it’s given back to you with the same measure you use. Southwest Airlines believes strongly in Employee Satisfaction, not customer satisfaction. They believe if they take great care of their employees, their employees, in turn, will take care of the customer. We have a similar mindset. We don’t have a huge staff. In fact, it’s just me and Roman. However, we work with a bunch of contractors. We look for ways to give bonuses (yes to contractors), we’ve thrown big Christmas parties for our contractors! Our objective is to take great care of them so they want to work with us and turn out great work for our customers!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of how we run our company, this is a few brief thoughts. We’ve made a lot of mistakes and got a few things right. We’d love to hear from you.

How are you leading your team? Or if you’d like more info on any of the above or if we can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email, jared@creativesheep.org, I would love to hear from you!

 

Jared Hogue is a co-owner of Creative Sheep. Creative Sheep exists to communicate God’s love through excellent content. Check out Creative Sheep’s media for churches.

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How to Shepherd Your Flock in a Politically Charged World

Everything gets politicized these days. It’s never been easier for churches to also get caught up in waves of political enthusiasm and social activism.

So, what should a pastor do when their fellow church members see needs and want to meet them, see injustice and want to stop it, or see a good cause and want to support it?

First, we should rejoice! When a church does a good job equipping people to think and live as Christians in a fallen world, the people become like rivers overflowing the banks of the church gathered (the lake). The landscape changes when there are lakes and rivers. But not all lakes need to be rivers.

So what do you do when one person wants their passion to be the primary passion for the whole church?

There are no easy answers to this question because every church and every community and every activist is a different mix of personalities and passions. But here are some principles to keep in mind.

1. Demote the political sphere while encouraging your politically active members.

For too many in our society, politics is everything. In This Is Our Time, I write about the politicization of everything, where politics has become a religion. Our country is still faith-filled; it is just that today our faith is misplaced. Too often, it’s directed toward government, not God. And many of our frustrations come when we realize government can’t ultimately save us. It was never meant to. Peggy Noonan writes: “When politics becomes a religion, then simple disagreements become apostasies, heresies. And you know what we do with heretics.”

All around us are people who believe the myth that politics is the only real place where you can effect change or transform the world. When you think that laws are the most important factor in changing the world, then every battle must be fought to the end. Otherwise, you’re sacrificing the cause!

The gospel challenges that myth. It tells us that the political sphere is just one area in which change can take place. It helps us put the political in a broader context, to realize that it is not everything. All gains are temporary, but so are all setbacks. Even if we lose a political cause, we can still be faithful. We are called always to witness, not always to win.

With all of this in mind, pastors should demote politics to its proper place, while simultaneously encouraging Christians who are active in their community. Understanding that the political sphere is not ultimate does not mean we should retreat. We cannot be indifferent, hoping to enter our houses of worship or our closets for prayer, as if holiness is all personal and private. No, the apostle Peter calls us to holiness and honor as a way of being on mission in this world. “Holiness is not supposed to be cloaked in the chambers of pious hearts,” says theologian Vince Bacote, “but displayed in the public domains of home, school, culture, and politics.”

2. Be aware of how quickly the uniting factor of a congregation can become a cause rather than the cross.

Once you have demoted the political sphere to its proper place and encouraged your church members to remain active, you should keep an eye on what is at the center of your preaching and teaching. It is easy for the unifying factor of a church to become what we do for others instead of what Christ has done for us.

A church’s unity for a cause can eventually displace the cross. The gospel is still there, but it’s no longer in the center. Something else is uniting the church – a political cause, social work, a community ministry.

Why does this matter? Because we want long-term fruitfulness in our communities.

When you put the gospel at the center, various ministry opportunities will come alongside as demonstrations of the power of Christ’s work on the cross. But when you put a cause at the center, various ministry opportunities may flourish for a time but then wither away, because they are no longer connected to the source of life that can sustain such activism.

3. Guard the platform of your church.

As a pastor, you’ve probably received multiple self-invitations to take “just a few minutes” of precious platform time to give a report or make a congregation aware of a need. Whether it’s people spreading Bibles around the world, missionaries coming home from furlough, medical missionaries providing essential healthcare or pro-life opportunities… everyone wants just a few minutes. Except for the congregation. They expect you to say “no” and protect them from the countless ministry opportunities that could be presented every week.

Do your congregation a favor and guard the platform of your church. Only put activities in the bulletin that correspond to your church’s mission and presence in the community. You can’t be a megaphone for every single thing people in your church want to promote.

4. Observe your church’s particular gifts and passions, and provide opportunities for community involvement.

Right now, our church is involved with tutoring elementary school students down the street. We’re helping plant a church in Cincinnati. We’ve celebrated when families have adopted children from overseas, and we’ve hosted fundraisers to help them offset the cost. We’re assisting refugees being resettled in our area.

These are ways that our church is ministering to the community. Enough people in the congregation were involved in the need for the church to realize it could help facilitate some of this good ministry.

J. D. Greear lays out three approaches to individual ministries – Own, Catalyze, and Bless. He explains it this way:

To “own” a ministry means we staff and resource it directly.

Those we “bless” are those we know our members are engaged in, but as an institution we have little interaction with them other than the occasional encouragement.

But the third category, “catalyze,” is where we put most of our energy. When we catalyze something, we identify members with ideas and ask them to lead us. We come alongside them, adding our resources, networking power, etc. We serve them. And that means sometimes they don’t do things exactly the way I would prefer. But in the long run, an empowered church catalyzed to do ministry will do more gospel-good in the community than if the church owns and staffs all its own ministries.

5. Publicly affirm and bless the kind of activism you want to see.

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Lift up examples of people who are the kind of activists you want to see.

When you hear of people in your congregation doing good in the community, don’t be shy in letting the rest of the church know. What you celebrate, you become.

 

Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher for LifeWay Christian Resources and publisher for the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) Translation. A former missionary to Romania and current pastor, Trevin hosts a blog at The Gospel Coalition and his latest book is This is Our Time: Everyday Myths in the Light of the Gospel (March 2017, B&H Publishing).

 

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Get Ready, Salem Church Products Is Hiring

Salem Church Products (SCP) is hiring and YOU could be the one to join our team, or you could know the perfect person to come on board, making an impact in tens of thousands of churches on a regular basis. The Church Media Blog is a part of SCP which exists to serve pastors, church leaders, and ministries with online resources in the areas of preaching & teaching, media, worship, youth ministry, kids ministry, employment, and more. We are looking for the right person who will fit the role as a Web Developer. In this position you will be working on sites including WorshipHouse Media, SermonSpice, ChurchStaffing, SermonSearch, ChurchMedia Blog, and more.

Here are some details for you:

1. RVA
If you don’t know what that is quite yet, no worries, I’ll fill you in. It stands for Richmond, VA, and it’s where we are located. So, yes, you will be working with us in beautiful, sunny, RVA. It’s the capitol of Virginia, but it just has that small town feel. It’s a great place to live as a single person, or a married couple with or without children.

2. Fun
Oh my. Let me count the ways.

  • Team lunches.
  • Team building.
  • Company parties.
  • Ultimate frisbee teams.
  • Ping-Pong tournaments.
  • Free caffeine – Keurig (25+ choices) and soda machine (with La Croix now!).
  • Daily snacks.
  • Randomblessings of free doughnuts, subs, pizzas, Chick-Fil-A, and more.
  • Don’t get me started on our Christmas party. Whew…it’s good!

3. Team
20 out of 20 people here at SCP agree that this is just the best company to work for. Does it get better than that?

4. Values
I love working for a company that has values such as:

  • We look for ways to encourage each other. We celebrate each other’s wins and have each other’s backs.
  • We are known as people who get things done. We take ownership of our work.
  • We are proactive in confronting challenges. We run towards problems with creative solutions.

5. Work
Alright, now here’s where it gets fun. To be a Web Developer with SCP, we’re not just looking for anyone. We’re looking for someone who can decipher the following:

  • CSS (random letters)
  • HTML (I know this has to do with the web!)
  • ASP.NET (more random letters)
  • C# (does this mean you have to have a music degree?)
  • PHP (here we go again with the random letters)
  • Coldfusion (Do you need a physics degree?)
  • SQL Server (Squool server??? as in crossing guard or cafeteria experience, perhaps)
  • TSQL (enough with these letters…who really knows what they mean anyway?)

6. Impact
Get ready to have your mind blown. Do you want your work to make a difference? Everyone wants to make an impact, right? Well, this job will put you in a position to impact…are you ready for this…hold on…here we go:

  • 30,000+ churches on a weekly basis
  • 1,000,000+ monthly visitors that visit the sites you will be developing!

Come on! That is a significant impact you can make.

There you have it. If you think this position is a good fit for you, then click on the link below. You’ll find more details for this position and instructions on how to apply.

Web Developer – Salem Church Products

 

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Top 10 Easter Outreach Ideas (Some Good and Some Bad)

Easter! What a tremendous time to think about different outreach ideas for our friends, families, and communities. Easter, as you probably know, is one of the highest attended services you’ll have this year (Mother’s Day and Christmas are the other two big ones). Therefore, it’s well worth your time to devote energy to this topic. As a side note, my desire is that we love our friends, families, and neighbors throughout the week, throughout the year…not just during Easter. But, Easter is indeed the perfect time to brainstorm outreach ideas for how we can serve/love/share our faith with those around us.

Here is a list for you to present to your church as you consider the best approach for outreach this Easter season. I am, as you will see, opinionated on this matter. Forgive my leanings and see if you agree or disagree with me.

1. Throw an easter egg hunt at your church (Great)
2. Invite a friend (Best)
3. Throw a BBQ at your church the day before Easter (Good)
4. Invite a friend (Best…again)
5. Rent some llamas and have a petting zoo (not bad, but not great)
6. Invite a friend (Still the best)
7. Blindly copy what really big churches are doing and hope for the best (horrible idea)
8. Invite a friend (See what I’m doing?)
9. Cross your fingers and hope someone else invites your friends (Not even going to comment on this one.)
10. Invite a friend (Will always be the best outreach idea for any day of the year.)
There you have it: ten ideas to get you thinking about outreach as you consider what you and your church will do this Easter season.
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