Building a Ministry Team
We can always do more to reach the next generation together than we ever can alone.
We are more effective leaders, and the ministries we lead are healthier when we do ministry as a team. Church work is different than any other work. How? Simply, we’re not creating products or selling services. Ministry is about people. It’s not really about programs, events or curriculum. It is all about relationships; with God and others. The most effective way to build a ministry team is to start with relationships.
Since the starting line is relationships, here are the first few stages to work through in building your ministry team.
Prayer. Jesus told us to start with prayer.
Jesus told us to: Ask the Lord of the harvest… I often find myself praying this simple prayer. “Lord, open my eyes to see those around me that are to be on my ministry team.”
Recruitment. Don’t underestimate the power of the Ask.
My ask never begins with, will you lead this ministry or will your teach this class? Rather it normally starts with me sharing my vision passionately and then asking them to pray about helping with the cause by joining our ministry team. I’ve learned that people seldom refuse to pray and once they begin to pray about the harvest, God can get ahold of their heart.
In recruitment, character must always trump abilities and availability. You can teach skills, but you can’t change a person’s character. Remember, it’s always easier to hire a volunteer, than it is to fire a volunteer. When necessary, deal with difficult people immediately.
Structure and Systems. These help people join the team and stay on the team.
Structure is the strategy in place to integrate new teammates into the team. This structure could include the following:
- Application process
- Background check
- Spiritual Gifts test
- Trial period
Systems are the strategies in place that empower teammates to deeper levels of ministry responsibility. It’s always best to release ministry slowly and intentionally. Jesus modeled the perfect system with the first 12 disciples. You might remember that it looked something like this:
- I do, you watch
- I do, you help
- You do, I help
- You do, I pray on your behalf
Working through these three stages will get you started on the right path to building your ministry team. In my next blog post I will continue on this topic and give you three more stages.
Clear expectations are a must.
Don’t shy away from setting the bar high. People want to be a part of a great cause, something bigger than themselves, something that’s making a difference.
People will lose interest if they feel underutilized. Empower your people to do real ministry and not just crowd control. People become frustrated if they don’t know what is expected of them. I have found great value in creating a simple one page job description, laying out all the expectations of each teammate.
I see big value in holding monthly team meetings. Not just meeting for meetings’ sake. Rather, meet together to build team unity, cast vision, provide training, pray together and give away ministry. I have a very simple agenda I use for most of the team meetings I lead:Encourage. Share success stories and pray for one another. Equip. Teach on a relevant ministry topic.Empower. Give away and check in on ministry responsibilities.Meetings are also excellent times to celebrate. Healthy teams celebrate!
We lead best by example.
As the leader, we must lead by example in the following areas: faithfulness, courage, generosity, servanthood, humility, graciousness, and thankfulness. When leading leaders, our message is best caught rather than taught.
If you will implement these six stages in building your ministry team, you will expand your ministry influence throughout the church and community.
BRIAN ENO has served in the local church as a Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor for 20 years. He currently serves as Director of Next Generation Ministries with the Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. Brian resides in Salem, Oregon with his wife Barbara and their son Jonathan. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook @NEXTGENPASTOR
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.