Does the staff influence the church more or does the church influence the staff more? Obviously, they both happen to some degree, but this question has been on my mind. In this post, I will focus on the ways church staff and leaders can help shape the church:
1. Through Prayer – It’s the obligation of each pastor and staff member to invest some of their time in prayer for the church, for teams they oversee and for their ministries. Do you have a personal prayer plan? Are you intentional? This one key component will shape your ministry and effectiveness.
2. Through Developing Leaders – The leaders you invite to join you in the work is one way that you help shape the church for the future – not just in the lives of the people who are working with you, but in the lives of the people who will be influenced by the people working on your team. How can you spend time today working on details that will help your team succeed? Who can you invite to join in the ministry? What systems can you implement that will help people easily use their gifts with the allotted time they have? [more on nurturing a ministry team]
3. Through Kindhearted Service – No one needs a member of the team that is self-seeking and only looking after their own interest. Rather, work out of a love for and obligation to Christ Jesus. Have his attitude (Phil. 2) and seek God’s heart when dealing with people in the congregation. Serving kind-heartedly doesn’t mean being a pushover. It means leading the people where they need to be. It means being strong, yet compassionate. It means loving them where they are. It means going the extra mile. Kindness is a hallmark of a Christ-like leader.
4. Through Modeling Sacrifice – Serving in the church as a staff member requires sacrifice. It’s your time, your gifts, your stress levels, your ideas, and everything that goes into helping the church to be effective in the great commission. Understanding your role, balancing life with the hard (and good) work of ministry, and keeping a positive attitude will go a long way to shaping and influencing your congregation.
5. Through Hard Work – You get up early, pack your brown bag lunch, grab your tools and you head out for a day of solid, good old-fashioned work. Manage your time wisely. Write down what you need and want to accomplish during the day. Go hard. Move fast. Allow only the bare minimum of your day to be used on time suckers: social media, indecisiveness, etc. Always be willing to adjust based on people stuff that might come up. With flexibility in ministry, there are times when the lines are blurred – a late-night or long weekend here, and there may require a looser schedule another day. If someone is not keeping track of those times, do your best to make make it fair for both you and the church. As Bill Hybels put it, have a solid finish line each day. Come to a point in each day and week that you can say – even with the never-ending possibilities for work in ministry – that you are finished. Well done.
6. Through A Committed Faith – at home, at work and in the world. As Scripture says, a spiritual leader must keep his own life and home in order. Families, friends, relationships and non ministry obligations should be tended to. It doesn’t have to stress you out, but trust that God will lead you in this balance. Develop disciplines that help keep you in check for healthy and whole living – spiritually, physically, relationally and emotionally. The by-product with be a healthier ministry and influence in your church.
Remember: Your Name is Attached – The cornerstone of the church is Jesus. We can all rest in that grace. As I’ve heard my dad say on occasion, he knows the church is divinely inspired because if it wasn’t, it would have been finished a long time ago! However, Jesus chooses to build his church on individuals. Our names will be attached to the work and some sort of legacy will be left. Every once in a great while, we still receive mail at our church from the youth pastor we had when I was in high school back in the early 90’s! And I’m sure my name will be on junk mail long after I’m no longer on staff (especially since, about half the time, I use the church address when sign up for drawings and stuff). Your name will be attached to the role you play and the legacy you leave. How do you want people to remember you and your work? What successes do you want to see happen as a result of you being employed by the church for this season in your life.