About 40 years ago our family business opened a machine shop in South Florida. Across the street from our plant was a company called “U and Me Transfer and Storage.”
We hired them to move equipment into our plant. Our plant manager was explaining to an out-of-town supervisor, being sent down from another facility, that “U and Me would bring this,” and “U and Me will set up that,” and so forth. The out of town supervisor, seeing his workload piling up fast, stopped the plant manager and blurted out, “When’s you and me gonna have time to do all this?” (Click here for another take on this story.)
I suspect a lot of lay coordinators are asking this same question, and in many cases there’s no “U,” just a “Me!” Nothing is more frustrating than to struggle in ministry without receiving help from others. Yet the key task for the lay coordinator is to mobilize, organize and train people for God’s work. How can we do it?
The Pastor’s Partner
The first thing that the lay coordinator needs to understand is he or she is the pastor’s partner. The first people who meet together should be you, your pastor and the Lord. You may discover that your pastor is as overwhelmed as you are. Many of the laity have been conditioned to think, “We’re paying the pastor, so he should do all the work.” Because of this many pastors find themselves burned out and some leave the ministry. This is an opportunity for you. But where do you start? Here are two programs that can result in immediate benefits for you and your pastor:
- Pastor Appreciation Day. More that just an offering, this is an opportunity for the laity to show the pastor and his or her family how much they mean to them. It’s also an opportunity to involve people in lay ministry, which is your central task as lay coordinator. We recommend celebrating this in the spring, but it’s not too early to begin getting organized.
- Pastor’s Prayer Partners. This is a ministry of your LifeBuilders® men’s chapter. This is an excellent way to bring revival to your church and also to bond the pastor and the laity together. Anytime is a good time to start this ministry.
More Than Just the Two of You
Now that you and pastor have become the “U and me” of your church, it’s time to spread the net and involve more people. There are several things you need to keep in mind when recruiting people to the work of God.
- Find out God’s purpose for your church. With over 6,000 Churches of God in North America today it should be self-evident that all of these were not started with the exact same mission. We know that all churches were set forth to carry out the Great Commission, but the way in which they do that is as varied as the number of churches. Please note the article on Writing a Lay Ministry Purpose Statement .
- Match the ministry to the endowments of the people. It’s tempting for Christian leaders to give responsibility for ministry to people who are not equipped, either naturally or supernaturally, in order to fill a position. Such a course is a recipe for disaster; it will result in demoralized people and ruined ministry. Although we need to find people’s hidden talents, we should avoid giving responsibility to people for which they are not gifted. We have resources such as the Spiritual Gifts courses to help people discover what ministry gifts God has given them.
- Lead from ahead, not behind. Too many people think they have to push others to get them to do ministry. My grandfather was a railroad maintenance supervisor for many years. His advice to me when I first started in the family business was, “Either you get them to work easy, or they won’t work at all.” He understood that more was accomplished by people who were first motivated from within (or ultimately from above) than those who were constantly pushed from behind.
If we recruit wisely, train, and organize well, we as lay coordinators can be successful in mobilizing the laity for purposeful service. When that happens “U and me” will become “us,” advancing the God’s kingdom together.