Over the past twelve years, I’ve served on staff at three different churches. More times than I can count, I have said the words, “If I only had more ____________, I would be able to make a greater impact in my area of ministry.”
My fill in the blank has been:
- more time
- more money
- more help
- more staff
- more support
- more publicity
- more experience
- more people showing up
- more room at the church
Every time I made that statement I really believed that was the answer to my struggles.
More Is an Excuse
It certainly couldn’t be my lack of knowledge, leadership or direction. It had to be something outside of my control (insert sarcastic eye roll). Are you with me so far? Have you found yourself in a similar position? Have you been telling yourself that same thing this week?
What I’ve learned is that my complaints were more revealing of my capacity issues as a leader than they were resource issues.
As my pastor said in a recent sermon, “if you’re complaining about your current position it usually means you’ve reached your capacity and need to grow in some area.” Now that we all feel bad about our leadership, let’s look at some solutions.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
The first two churches I served with averaged less than 500 attendees on the weekend. My current position is with a church that averages 7,500.
While at the smaller churches, I used to tell myself, “I could really do some serious ministry if I had the resources, space and staff help that those guys at the big churches have.” Let me report my findings now that I’m at a bigger church.
On paper, I currently lead our couples ministry and counseling ministry. I share a small portion of the weekend teaching responsibilities. I help oversee our staff accountability and development. Yet, I have zero paid staff assistance in any area of ministry. That means all the ministry that occurs in the areas I lead is accomplished through volunteers.
I’ve realized an important truth in my current role—God will give you all the resources you need to accomplish what He has given you to do. I know that we all agree with that statement intellectually. But do we really believe it at the heart level?
If I’m not dedicated to that belief, not much would get done in the ministries I serve. Right now, there are people in your church who would love to put their gifts and passions to work. They’re ready to help you accomplish the vision God has given you for your ministry area.
Invest In People
Whether you are at a large church of thousands or a church of fifty, you can begin moving towards the grander vision you have for ministry today. The philosophy is simple—grow people and they will turn into teams. Grow teams and they will turn into ministries.
Two years ago, I met a woman at church and invited her and her husband to our small group. After getting to know the two of them, I saw she had a passion for divorced couples. She had experienced divorce herself and had attended a class at a previous church for divorcees.
This began a discussion about beginning a Divorce/Separation Care class at our church. I spent some time dreaming with her about what that might look like and also added a couple other people to the discussion that had an interest. We developed a vision, pulled together an eight-week curriculum and launched a ministry six months later.
Did you see how that worked? By investing into one person, we were able to build a team and from that team came a thriving ministry.
Teams Lead to Ministries
The next time you begin to believe the Myth of More, remind yourself to look around and ask God who He has placed in your life. Then, invite them to spend some time with you and see how you can help them grow personally and spiritually.
Do this with a few individuals and next thing you know, you will have a small team. If you intentionally and consistently meet with that team to grow and shape them, you’ll be off and running with that ministry idea that has been on your heart.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” —Ephesians 4:11-12
Grow people. People become teams. Grow teams. Teams become ministries.
Eric Wooten is the Pastor of Family Ministries & Counseling at One Community Church in Plano, Texas.