I am part of a team.
As someone who worked in full-time ministry for the past 8 years (children’s pastor, “missionary” in Allendale, SC, and now a non-profit focused on youth in Greenville), I have seen the importance of partnering with others. In order to sustain any ministry, you have to have a team of folks who are bought in to an extent that they willingly give up their resources (time, energy, money, etc).
But how do you do that? How do you help others cultivate a desire to serve a cause?
Well, there is no magic formula (unfortunately!), but I’m learning that before people serve, they want to know the why, the what, and the how.
Why should I care?
The number one reason I that I get involved in a mission is when I believe it’s important to God. So, if you are going to enlist partners, you must start with the gospel and a Biblical basis for why this issue is important.
What does success look like?
Beyond a general philosophy and theology, you must help others picture what a “win” would be in your cause. The best way to do this is tell success stories. Talk about the lives that have been changed through your ministry (or ministries like it).
How do I start?
This is where most people get held up. You might be able to inspire someone to get involved, but when they ask what they can you, you respond with a well-meaning but general, “What do you want?” or you list a dozen or so options. The ambiguity can be overwhelming, so you have to make it easy for them to get involved. Give them a few specific first steps, and invite them to try one of them for a few months. After that trial period, you can have a follow up discussion, to either continue or redirect their involvement.
Of course, the goal isn’t to build your own kingdom. The ultimate goal is to multiply disciples, who care about and get involved with issues that matter to God. Seth McBee writes:
“If you desire to see others gripped to make disciples, you must not only penetrate their intellect. You must also aim at their hearts.”
Yes, more work must be done to maintain volunteers and supporters, and that’s another blog post for another day. But before you worry about maintaining your team, you have to build the team. And to build and grow your team, you must communicate the why, what, and how of your cause.
“A mission is not impersonal. I have never seen anything being done well unless people were committed.” Peter Drucker (in “Managing the Nonprofit Organization”)