volunteersOnly about 3% of your congregation will ever say “I’m ready for a ministry! Plug me in!”

It probably won’t surprise you to know that only 11% of your congregation will respond to a plea from the pulpit (and this is only if you do everything right).

Yet 98% of your congregation is more than capable of being engaged in ministry. How can you engage more people and help them reach their potential?

Identify – first identify what you need. Write a complete dream list of ministry jobs. Better yet, lead your congregation in a dream building exercise. God hasn’t just given you a dream, He gives every person in your church a dream to be what they were meant to be.

Make sure you identify the big (someone to lead an outreach); the medium (someone to teach a class, usher, make thank you gifts for volunteers); the small (bring cookies, take offering).

Next identify volunteers. Remember who suggested what ministries. They might be ready to take it on, or they might be at a support-role place. You will have some people who are obviously gifted with all the necessary resources, other people who want to be engaged, or need to be engaged, but life is taking most of their energy. Match personality, giftings and energy for each job.

Educate and Engage – People need to know why they are doing something. Even the small jobs need a purpose statement. Those who were ready to dream will be able to lead the charge, start the conversation with them. Others, you’ll need to educate. You will have very dedicated volunteers if they know why their job is important. Some jobs need a bit more education. You might consider asking a potential ministry leader to read a book with you.

Ask – Now you are ready to ask people. When you ask someone to fill a role, remind them why it is important, ask them to fill the job, and give them a specific time frame.

I need you to bring cookies on Wednesdays for the next six weeks.

Would you be willing to teach our new class on “How to Study the Bible” for six weeks on Sunday mornings at 9am? You will have a text book, and will need about two hours of prep time a week.

Remember that outreach you mentioned? I loved the idea. Would you be willing to start a breakfast and socks outreach on Saturdays to the people under the bridge? You would need to commit for a whole year, and be willing to begin mentoring someone right away who would be able to take your place. I will walk with you, but you would be in charge of the ministry.)

Affirm – this is how you teach. Affirm what people are doing right, listen to their frustrations, and point out opportunities. This is the place where real discipleship. You get to help people match their personality with a purpose, and learn how to lean on God to see Him work through them.

The most important ingredient for this whole process is prayer. God works from the inside, we work from the outside. You need to know what God is doing in your congregation, you need Him to call people and you get to be part of the process to helping them engage. He will show you who to engage, and how to engage them.