“Sign me up!” are beautiful words every ministry leader likes to hear. But what exactly is it that draws a person to your ministry, and more importantly, keeps them engaged to give of their time and money when so many other “good causes” are fighting for their involvement?
Let’s face it. Efforts within the church are pitted against countless other “good” causes. On any given day, organizations such as The American Cancer Society and The American Red Cross—both well-deserving groups meeting medical needs—are actively asking homes across the country to give to their cause. In addition, many faith-based groups such as Samaritan’s Purse now reach out across the country through mail and phone campaigns asking for help.
Now fast forward to Sunday morning at Any Church USA and folks are asked again to give, volunteer, and participate in the “activity of the month.” And from the pew, each of these causes is good. Given limited funds and hours each week, how can ministry leaders create a compelling call to action that encourages people to consider—and participate—in the ministries God has called the church to?
While there is no quick answer to these questions, I invite you to consider three aspects of your efforts.
In order for people to get on board with any aspect of your ministry, they have to know where you are going. Should be simple, right?
In an age of “giving back,” being “green,” and practicing social responsibility, your ministry can get lost in the shuffle.
Most churches cling to (and with good purpose) the Great Commission as the overriding vision of their church. And while this scripture is biblically sound, the people in your church need those verses translated for them. In a practical way, how is your ministry reaching others? Are you helping them understand how scripture lives in your communities? The truth is people get excited about a vision they can believe in. As John Maxwell says, “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.”
And with that touch comes participation.
Wait a minute . . . that’s not what I said.
If your vision is clear, how you are communicating it? And more importantly, what are people “hearing?” To ensure alignment of your mission and message, you must look at your communication from two angles—who is sending the message and who is receiving it? Want to reach out and engage single adults? Then involve single adults in crafting the message. Generations differ and because of that, ministries must put themselves in the shoes of the recipient. In the age of technology, there is no one way to communicate. But if the message isn’t heard, it doesn’t matter how many times it is announced from a pulpit or placed on a Web site or printed in a bulletin.
There really is a scoreboard.
This third statement sounds counter to church life. Church life is not a contest, but it is important to create feedback loops for your members to let them know how things are going. Often, greater emphasis is placed on getting folks to sign up, and very little, if any, focus is given letting people know how they made an impact. What difference did your ministry make in the community? How many families were impacted because of the efforts of people who volunteered?
Look for ways to really CELEBRATE! God and God-activities are worthy of praise, and that means we should be spending a lot more time sharing the good news and joy it creates. That excitement, in turn, supports your vision, which in turn reinforces your messages, which in turn creates more excitement.
Wouldn’t it be great to have “too much” to celebrate? That is my prayer for you.