Ministry Leaders: A How to Guide

Every pastor knows the backbone of any church is the volunteers. You can’t do ministry without them. These men and women who give of their time each and every week are helping point people to Jesus. They’re awesome…if they’re led well. Without good leadership volunteers may actually do more harm than good, which is why many pastors take it upon themselves to lead them. This is a mistake. You and I both know you don’t have the time needed to lead volunteers effectively, which is why you need ministry leaders.

Ministry leaders are leaders of ministries. I bet you figured that out already.

Sometimes they’re paid, but most of the time in smaller churches you can find more than capable volunteers.

Some examples would be the youth pastor, children’s director, or worship leader.

In the church I serve we drill down even further and have leaders who oversee each kid’s ministry area and each guest services area, like the greeting team, parking team, and ushers.

This allows people to use the leadership gifts God has given them, and frees pastors like me and you up to focus on big picture tasks like preaching and vision-casting.

Get the right ministry leaders in place, and your church has a great opportunity to see big time growth this year.

So, what would that look like? What would you need ministry leaders to do?

I’ve narrowed it down to these six things:

  1. Cast Vision – If you’re the senior pastor, you’re the chief vision-caster at your church, but that doesn’t mean you need to be the only one casting vision. Casting vision reminds volunteers that their serving has a purpose. Spending every other week in a room full of toddlers can become overwhelming, but hearing about a child’s mom getting baptized quickly reminds them what they’re doing matters.
  2. Provide Care – I want my ministry leaders to see themselves as shepherds of the volunteers who serve in their area. I want them to know about their families, what’s going on in their lives, and how they’re doing spiritually. They should be their biggest encourager, and include them in their prayer life. The more volunteers a leader oversees, the harder this becomes. That’s why I recommend a leader not oversee more than twelve volunteers.
  3. Recruit Volunteers – A leader who can recruit volunteers is invaluable to a church. A church can never have enough volunteers, and recruiting volunteers from the stage will have diminishing returns. That’s why it’s so important that you have leaders who aren’t afraid to tap a shoulder and start a conversation about serving.
  4. Train Volunteers – Once you recruit a new volunteer, you can’t forget this important step. You need to train them. Many people have quit serving, not because they don’t love Jesus, but because they feel unqualified because they’ve never been trained. Spend a few weeks training them and making sure they’re comfortable in their new position.
  5. Maintain & Order Supplies – Depending on where you serve, this could be a big part of your responsibility or very small. If you lead the area that serves coffee, you better make sure you have coffee each week. If you lead the nursery, make sure you have extra diapers for the mom who forgot her diaper bag. If you don’t have the authority to order the supplies yourself, make sure whoever does knows what you need in plenty of time.
  6. Deal with Conflict – Hopefully as a ministry leader, you won’t have to deal with this much, but you are serving in a church, so you need to be ready to deal with conflict when it comes. This could be a spat between two parents, a volunteer gossiping about another, or a variety of other situations. Your main priority is deescalating the situation. If that’s not possible let your leader know about the situation so they can help handle it.

I’m sure I probably forgot something, so I’d love to know what you would add to this list. Leave a comment and let us know. Also, make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week, and shoot me an email if I can serve you or your church in anyway this year.

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