A Church's Greatest Asset
David Posthuma @ Nov 12, 2008 11:54 AM
Psychologists have commented for years that humanity utilizes approximately 11% of our brain capacity. Based upon this assertion, many people have speculated about human potential…the great things we could accomplish if only we could access the unused 89% of our intellect.
The same could be said of the Christian Church. Most local churches mobilize only 10% to 20% of their human resources into ministry service. Just imagine what could be accomplished for Christ’s Kingdom if we could raise the mobilization percentage to 80% or even 90% of our membership? I believe this incredible goal is achievable. However, if this goal is to be achieved, pastoral leaders must learn to respect the ministry temperaments of each congregation member. When we learn to respect our people, and the manner in which God designed them for ministry service, we discover that the Church’s greatest asset is its human resources.
Incredible Human Potential
God created humanity with phenomenal potential. In the biblical account of the Tower of Babel found in Genesis 11:6, we learn why God confused human language: “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (NIV). God openly acknowledges that nothing is impossible for humanity to accomplish when we are unified. I believe God introduced verbal disunity, not because he wanted to limit human potential, but because He desired that we find our unity and capability through Him. Paul emphasizes this theme of renewed unity in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6…There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men (NIV). The Holy Spirit has restored unity within humanity…at least for those who follow Christ…that was essentially lost at the
If the local church is to mobilize the majority of their members into ministry service, church leaders must first believe in the incredible potential of the human resources that God has given them. They must view their people as having far greater potential than being mere “helpers” to the pastoral staff. In addition, they must help their human resources to also understand and act upon their incredible potential. Sadly, this is often not the case. Pastors constantly lament to me that “they can’t get their people to do anything”. Or they claim, “My people are so lazy”. I believe these negative attitudes are the result of a dysfunctional mobilization methodology. In practice, most pastoral leaders make repeated public announcements regarding volunteer opportunities, yet very few people respond. Recently I was speaking with an associate pastor of a 700 member church about this very issue. For nearly two months his church had been advertising for a fourth-grade children’s small group leader with very little success. The few people who had responded to the advertisement were good hearted servant-types, but were not properly gifted by God for this position. A foundational problem with advertising ministry opportunities is that such advertisements communicate the organization’s need…to have a service hole filled…but neglects to consider the emotive dynamics that inspire individuals to see this opportunity as anything more than additional busy-work in their life. People do not want more busyness in their life…but they do want their life to have meaning…to have kingdom impact.
God has embedded within our
God created me with a deep desire to create effective and innovative strategic plans and to help those plans become a reality. If Planners belonged to your church, and your leadership did not empower them to serve in a manner that honors God’s design and ministry intent for their life, then how long do you think the Planner would support your church? Answer: Probably not very long. Let’s illustrate this point using the church advertisement for a fourth-grade small group leader, mentioned earlier. The church website listed the following “Volunteer Needs”:
current VOLUNTEER needs
Welcome Team - Email the Discipleship Pastor
Children & Family - Email the Children's & Family Pastor
If you would like additional information about these volunteer opportunities, please email us or call the church office at
These job postings are listed in terms of prioritizing the programming “needs” of the organization over the “needs” of the people within the church to make a significant impact for Christ in this world. The listings make no effort to appeal to the heart’s cry passions that naturally inspire people, nor do these job postings convey the Kingdom impact potential of serving in these various capacities. So how could we convey this website posting more effectively so that the right kind of person would respond?
Begin by reviewing the sixteen heart’s cry statements. Out of the sixteen listed, which profile best fits the core purpose of a small group leader? The Guide profile is likely the best fit for serving as a small group leader because his or her passion is to “help people grow spiritually”. I would suggest the posting could be better conveyed as follows:
Kingdom impact opportunities
Are You Passionate About Helping People Grow Spiritually?
If your passion is to disciple people so that they can discover and mature in their faith in Christ, and if you want to invest your life in a manner that can have a Kingdom impact for generations to come, then an exciting opportunity exists for you to influence the emerging generations to discover and follow Christ. For more information, please contact the Pastor of Discipleship.
An even more effective strategy would be to avoid advertised postings all together. Whenever pastoral leaders advertise a ministry opportunity, it places church leadership in a very dangerous position. People will respond to advertised postings with a desire to serve. However, many respondents will not be properly gifted or sufficiently mature to serve effectively in the advertised service role. This means that pastoral leaders are forced to either reject the candidate…a leading cause of back-door exiting of people from our churches…or accept the candidate knowing they are not properly suited for the ministry role and will likely have minimal ministry impact, or even fail. People who have had minimal ministry impact, or who have failed in ministry service will rarely volunteer to serve again. This is why it would be beneficial in our current example to have a database listing all the Guides within the church. Even better, what if the database could search for Guides who were skilled in serving children? We could then identify the leading ministry candidates who would serve well as a small group leader within the children’s ministry. This information empowers Pastoral leaders to proactively identify, affirm, recruit, and deploy the new small group leader knowing that church has the right person in the right service role. AssessME.org is designed to help make these important mobilization connections.
I believe that a church’s greatest asset is its human resources. However, when we advertise “jobs” or “workers needed”, we belittle to our people. People do not want more work or more busyness within their lives. They do, however, want to make sure that their lives make a significant and positive impact upon this world. When pastoral leaders view their people as “workers” or “helpers”, the result is that ministry mobilization becomes difficult at best. However, when pastoral leaders tap into the heart-cry passion of every person within their church, incredible kingdom ministry is the result. We should always remember that God called pastoral leaders to help their congregation members become effective in ministry service, He never called congregation members to help the pastoral leaders to be effective in their ministry programming (Ephesians 4:12).
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