The leader of the future isn’t a person. It is a team. It is a group of people gifted and called by God to lead. It is a community drawn together by a sense of the possible within a congregation and committed to making God’s kingdom just a bit more real in their time and place. John Roberto
Congregations establish ministries to assist people of all ages grow in faith through different stages of life.
In congregational life there may be a wide variety of ministries:
- children’s ministry
- faith trail (milestones) ministry
- confirmation, first communion
- youth and young adults ministry
- women’s and men’s ministries.
It may appear easiest to have one person to facilitate each ministry, especially if the congregation or group is small. But imagine the benefits that could be experienced if a team of three or more people was established to work together and facilitate each ministry.
Working in teams has many benefits. If one person suddenly moves away, becomes unwell, or is simply unable to be present for a gathering, there are others who can seamlessly lead the ministry. It also ensures that the ministry is sustainable long after any one member of the team moves away.
Here are some common key roles in any ministry team:
In any ministry area, it is helpful to have two or more people who are the ‘up-front people.’ They are the ones who provide the up-front teaching as well as direction for participants. When two or more people share this role, one may take the lead role and the other a support role and/or prepare to be the main presenter next time.
All ministries will need some help with paperwork
- scheduling the program
- preparing risk assessments and promotions
- gathering registrations, resources and payments
- recording participation and following up with those who were unable to participate.
Most ministries will require a space to meet – either a physical environment or online space. The member of the team gifted in this area can help to ensure technology runs smoothly and the physical space is set up beforehand and packed away afterwards.
The role of the pastor is to shepherd those who step up to be part of ministry teams. The pastor’s role on a ministry team will always be to equip the members of the team to serve.
As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11-12 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
Therefore, it is vital that pastors focus on equipping, endorsing, blessing and releasing the ministry team to serve. Pastors need to resist the temptation to ‘take over’ ministries.
If one person takes on all of these key roles, it can be the perfect recipe for burnout and has the potential for ministries to rise and fall on the personality of the one leader.
The most effective team will meet together regularly outside of their public ministries. They will meet together not only to plan future ministry activities, they will also meet to support each other, dwell in the word together and pray together. Every ministry team has the potential to be a discipleship development team. Working in teams provides a perfect environment to mentor those who are new to their roles and in this way equip them for future ministry. A ministry team of three or more will be far stronger and more resilient than one or two.
If you have been running a ministry on your own, ask yourself, what is going to happen to that ministry when you are no longer there?
Take a moment and ask God to show you who you could ask to form a team with you. Be honest about the gifts you bring to the team and the gifts you will need from others in order to make the ministry most effective. Seek out people to lead and serve alongside you, people you could mentor towards leading the ministry into the future. Where appropriate, seek to have people of all ages on the team. Be an encourager. Empower team members to step up and use the gifts they have. When ministry goes well celebrate it. When ministry goals are not met, forgive, reassess, readjust the plan and keep learning and growing as a team.