One of the things I look forward to when I hire staff is the opportunity to invest into their lives. Between praying for and pastoring their family, weekly staff meetings, and other times of training, I want to do all I can to help build them up in service and as spiritual leaders.
At the same time, I don’t hire staff solely to invest in them. In fact, I hire them primarily to help me build the work of the ministry God has entrusted us with here at Lancaster Baptist Church.
If you serve on a church staff, I would encourage you to appreciate and take advantage of any training or help your pastor provides. (And this, of course, includes his regular preaching.) But don’t see your staff position as just an opportunity for you and your family to be built up, but for you to help build.
This post started with my notes from a recent staff training with our church leadership team as I challenged them to build in four specific areas. If you serve on a church staff, I’d encourage you to take these four areas to heart, especially as you plan for the upcoming year of ministry:
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,—Jude 20
To serve others, you must be growing personally.
On a ministry level, this doesn’t happen without consistently building your devotional life. If you are leading others, you cannot rely on outside influences to keep your walk with God strong. This has to come from a personal decision and through daily discipline. Is your devotional life richer right now than it was this time last year?
Building yourself also means that you build in leadership development. It means working specifically to grow as a leader by reading, seeking advice, learning from mistakes, and learning from the lives of great leaders. If you are leading others in any capacity, you cannot coast and expect to be effective. You must make leadership development a continual pursuit.
Build Your Area—Equip
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:—Titus 1:5
When Paul left Titus in Crete, he left him with specific assignments. You, too, no doubt, have specific areas of ministry you’ve been assigned, perhaps multiple areas. Build those areas.
Building is not measured solely by numeric growth (although that is usually a significant indicator). It’s also measured by effectiveness, communication, and training.
For instance, if you lead the church choir, building that area may include enlisting new members. But it may also include learning better directing techniques, teaching the choir new songs and helping them blend better, and providing better pastoral care for the choir members.
If you lead the children’s ministry, building would include reaching new families. But it may also be building up your existing helpers, writing thank you notes, and following up on the spiritual growth of every child in your ministry.
Our ministry leaders submit a planner every year in December for the coming year. This is a time when they are challenged to review the previous year and make concrete goals for the coming year. They are required then to attach a plan of action to those goals.
Build Your Team—Educate
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:—Ephesians 4:11–12
This is at the core of local church pastoral ministry. A church staff is there to assist the pastor in equipping the church for the work of the ministry and to assist in the edifying of the body.
Whether you lead a staff or a lay team, invest in them. Equip them. Build up the people with whom you serve. This would include periodic training meetings, thank you notes, consistent prayer for, and specific encouragement. When you hear a good report of how God has used the team for which you provide leadership, share that with them. Remind them that their work is not in vain.
Build Your Prospect List—Evangelize
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.—John 20:21
The heart of local church ministry is reaching people with the gospel, discipling them, and training them to do the same.
This process doesn’t begin with people who are great at directing the choir or leading a children’s ministry or planning awesome events for the teens. It begins with people who share the gospel of Jesus Christ one person at a time. And this requires cultivating relationships with lost people.
The temptation for a staff member is to coast as a soulwinner based on the people being saved in services. Or to just rely on guest contacts handed to you by the pastor. Remember that even these contacts are the fruit of someone’s efforts to engage a lost person outside of church with the gospel. You should be developing your own contacts as well. A growing prospect list is indicative of a faithful soulwinner.
A New Year, A New Chance
As you look ahead to the coming year, begin asking the Lord to give you a vision to build, and begin setting goals and making plans in each of these areas—edifying yourself, equipping others, educating your team, and evangelizing the lost.