Ask any church in Kentucky, “What is your greatest leadership challenge?” and the answer will likely be, “We need more workers.” Gospel ministry opportunities abound, but finding the folks to lean into those opportunities can be a great leadership challenge for pastors.
How can a church find the workers needed for its life-changing ministry? Consider pulling together 10, 15 or 20 of the most faithful ministry leaders in your church and do the following:
1. Pray together for additional workers. The Bible records the words of our Lord in Luke 10:2, “Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’” When the church needs workers, it’s time to pray.
Writer and lay leader S.D. Gordon is credited for saying, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” Others attribute this quote to John Bunyan. Whoever said it, the fact remains that prayer proceeds every good work.
God who ordains good work also supplies the laborers for that work, but he wants His people to pray. So, the first thing we must do is pray for God to send additional workers.
2. Identify potential workers. There may be potential — yet undeveloped — leaders who are already present in your church. One way to identify them is with the acrostic F.A.T., which I first learned from two Navigator disciple-makers.
Look for people who are Faithful, Available and Teachable. They are faithful in that they do what they say they will do. They are available, meaning that while they may be busy, they have time to invest in an important ministry. They are teachable in that they can learn to become a more effective servant of Christ.
3. Equip the workers for ministry. Once you prayerfully discover potential leaders in your church, delegate a task to them. One of our Kentucky Baptist church planting apprentices gave the following advice for delegating work using the S.A.V.E. acrostic, which stands for Show, Assist, View and Exit.
Show them how to do the task you want them to accomplish. Whether it is teaching a Sunday school lesson or regularly changing batteries in the microphones, people need to be shown how to do things if we hope they will do them well.
Assist them the first few times they do it. Many of our church plants set up chairs each week for their services. How wonderful it is when that important ministry is handed off to others who can do it as well. Before handing if off, however, we should assist them in doing it.
View them as they do the task. Not view them in the sense of looking over their shoulder, but in the sense of being present and available if your help is needed.
Exit and let them carry on. Once you have delegated a task and trained the person to do it, the best thing to do is to get out of their way and make yourself available if needed for advice or help.
It may be that all, or at least most, of the additional workers you need are sitting in your pews on Sunday morning. I am praying that God will help you see them, recruit them and equip them for a life of faithful and fruitful ministry.