Your Most Important Relationships: Part 5 The Ministers

 Courtesy of Duncan~/Creative Commons License

The relationships we have in ministry will inspire, challenge, shape and even hurt us.  Some of those relationships we think will last forever while others will just be a moment in time.  Without ministers you really can only do so much.  If you want to grow your capacity you need to grow the number of ministers that you have serving in your ministry.  While there are many ways to recruit ministers there really isn’t huge secret, you just need to ask people.  Whether the announcement comes from the pulpit, through a well crafted email or an airplane flying a banner over the town the real question isn’t, “How do I recruit them?” it’s “How do I retain them?” 
Naturally adults will leave your ministry because of life change; however, you want to make sure that’s the only reason.  When a minister leaves because they are disengaged, or overwhelmed you need to look at how it is you are interacting, growing and relating to them.  Again, they are the hands and feet to your ministry, in order to strengthen the relationship you have with your team you need to:

  • Invest In Their Lives – You might not know every single one on your team personally; however, you want to create an atmosphere where people feel like they are important.  A great step to retaining ministers is by just spending time with them.  It might be doing something they love or inviting them to do something you love.  Introduce them to your family, make sure your spouse and kids are familiar with them, if anything don’t treat them like a once a week acquaintance.  If you want them for the long haul, you need to build relationships to last for the long haul.  
  • Understand Their Commitment – It’s easy to treat our ministers like full time employees because of how badly we need them.  Understand that they need to be able to say, “No” and have limits surrounding their commitment.  There are going to be seasons when showing up once a week will be easy and then others when they need a season off.  Do not hold it against them or set expectations that are unreasonable.  Check in with them, ask them how life is going, how their families are doing and show them that you are their to work with them.
  • Be Crystal Clear – One of the most frustrating things in any relationship is a lack of communication.  If you want ministers to step up to the plate and own a part of your ministry you need to make sure clear and consistent communication is a priority on your plate.  Make sure you provide for them multiple mediums of communication, don’t just leave it to email or a post on a group page.  When you communicate clearly and consistently they’ll feel a part of the loop, which will help them feel a part of the team.

By investing in your ministers and working to keep them around you will create natural advocates to recruit the next crop of volunteers.  If you are constantly turning over minister after minister it will create an instable environment and it doesn’t matter how hard you work to recruit people, no one will want to stay.  Build the teams, love on your people and show them how much you care and see how they will pour back into you.

How do you pour into your ministry team?