One key to involving people in your ministry is to Ask. It’s truly a huge step and proves to bring much more fruit than nearly any other way.
Too many church leaders count on putting something in the announcements, in the church newsletter or weekend publication or on the website. For certain things, this can be helpful, but if you’re looking for someone to join you in ministry leadership, serve on a team or take on a role in the life of your worship ministry, the best and most efficient way to involve them is to ask them.
In addition to asking people to join in ministry, it’s also important for leaders to equip, encourage and empower their volunteer teams. But in today’s quick post, I want to talk through three barriers to why we often hesitate to ask:
It Takes Work
Before we ask someone to help us, it requires some work on our part. We have to determine what the ask will be. It requires an investment of time to compose an email, make a phone call or set up a meeting. It requires some information gathering, training or scheduling. Though inviting someone to serve in ministry with us is eventually a huge time saver (not to mention the purpose of ministry staff to help equip the saints), it does require work to get the ball rolling and keep it going.
We Fear Rejection
I don’t think anyone enjoys being told “no.” Because we feel like we’re being rejected, we often just don’t ask at all. There are a few thoughts to overcome this barrier and, for starters, remember this isn’t personal. You’re inviting people in to use their God-given gifts to serve in the church and make a kingdom difference. It’s God’s church and often way before asking someone, they have been feeling nudged to do something. It’s also good to remember the idea of your church members giving something a try and then doing something else if that doesn’t fit is a good culture to build! It’s totally fine for someone to recognize their gifts and their preferred area of ministry – always affirm that. At the same time, affirm when people need a breather! We don’t want your volunteers to feel like they are stuck in their role forever. It’s the job of the ministry leader to help invite people to serve and that requires stepping in and taking a risk. One thing that has helped me over the years is to go for a goal of “no.” Maybe it’s just a little game for me, but I have learned that if I have a goal of ten “no” answers, then I have plenty of “yeses” before I ever get there. It gives me the confidence to ask.
Asking should be bathed in prayer, and when someone says no it’s a blessing – you’ve thought of them, asked them, and given them an opportunity. One big mistake I see leaders making is to answer for the person before ever even asking! Rejection isn’t fun for anyone, but remember the mission is to equip people around you!
Our Own Disorganization
If we do things right, the clear pathways to serving with you should be continually keeping a pipeline of volunteer team members. But in the whirlwind of ministry, one barrier to asking people to join your team or serve on a project is that the ministry leader may be disorganized. You have to create the framework in advance. You need to get the small job description ready. You need to nail down the timeline, and the details of the commitment and document how this role will fit into the overall mission of the church. Sometimes we wind up asking people to help but never following up or giving instructions for the next step. As leaders, part of our primary task is to help organize for others to meaningfully participate in ministry.
Once we begin to overcome these barriers, asking people is a huge benefit in ministry. Your invitation to join you in ministry could truly change the trajectory of someone’s faith journey or indeed, their lives! Don’t hesitate to ask. Pray for people, get an idea of what is needed and start asking people to join you.