As leaders, we want our members to flourish in their ministry and find fulfilment in their lives. The payoff is growth for the congregation. How can this be achieved? By members being actively engaged in a vision that calls for everyone to serve.
Assuming the vision side has been taken care of (it’s clear, compelling, and has the Master’s commission at the heart of it - Matthew 28:18-20), how can leaders mobilise an army of committed members to enthusiastically take the fight to the enemy? At the end of the day people want to know their lives amount to something worthwhile; they are part of something doing some good in the world; people are being added to and supported in the kingdom because of their actions.
The truth is the One who saved us also calls each one to serve Him. Our members will not please the Master unless they’re serving Him! Service is about action. The vision must not only inspire but also provide work for people. It cannot exist merely to meet the needs of members – it must also give them something to do. If the old saying is true, “Every man is as lazy as his circumstances permit him to be”, then our members mustn’t be left scratching around for work. It’s essential that leadership teams develop the lofty ideas of the vision into an action plan; a programme of work that ensures every member has an active role. Equally, every member must appreciate that being part of the fellowship means they are available to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:43-45).
Leaders must recognise that every person in the fellowship is there to help it fulfil its purpose. That’s how they will find fulfilment. The leader’s task is to help members discover the work they’re to do. Some will think they can’t do anything, they’re not gifted; while others will say, “Others are much better than me, so I might as well not even try.” There may be a range of reasons why some think like this – from low self-esteem to simple bone idleness. Nevertheless, you must help members to understand:
A principle I have found useful and have been working with for some time is captured in this statement that I call the ‘every person principle’:
“Don’t envy anybody. Every person has something no other person has. Discover that one thing and make it outstanding.”
If people really connect with the ‘every person principle’ it will help some to grow in self-worth and self-confidence and to develop a ‘can do’ attitude.
To get the most from members let me encourage you to act!
It’s imperative that all in the church serve! When members are doing effective work which is contributing to the advancement of the vision everybody wins:
[Yahweh] made me for Himself, to serve Him here,
with love’s pure service and in filial fear;
to show His praise, for Him to labour now;
then see His glory where the angels bow
HENRY WILLIAM BAKER
If the service of [Yahweh] is worth anything, it is worth everything.
C. H. SPURGEON
The most willing service to men is rendered by those who are bent on pleasing [Messiah].
GEOFFREY B. WILSON
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
[Yahweh] has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
Romans 12:5-8 (NIV)
So in [Messiah] we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Nehemiah 4:6 (NRSV)
So we rebuilt the wall, and all the wall was joined together to half its height; for the people had a mind to work.
Father in heaven, the work you’ve given us to do is great. We need your wisdom to mobilise the saints you’ve placed in our care. Help us follow the example of our master Yahshua who equipped His servants for the work of the kingdom and unleashed them onto the world – and we’re amazed at what they accomplished. We need the support of the Spirit to translate our vision plan into a work programme that allows every person to contribute to fulfilling the purpose you’ve given us. Help us help our members to discover their uniqueness; their gifts and talents, so each one might serve You effectively.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...