As church leaders, one of our goals is to help the members of our congregation grow in their relationships with Christ and get involved in meaningful ministries that align with their gifting, experiences, and abilities. For many of our people, this is not an easy thing. They need our guidance and assistance to help them find the ministry that is both a good fit and challenges them in ways that develop their faith. We must help them find the right place in ministry to serve.
Since the goal is to have all of Christ’s followers involved in some kind of ministry, we can take our members through several steps that will point them in the right direction, as well as relieve some of their anxieties about getting involved. While we can never guarantee a perfect match, we can walk hand-in-hand with those in our church to see them trust God for provision.
Before taking any steps toward joining a ministry effort in the church or community, prayer should be the number one priority. This prayer can certainly be personal, private prayer, including long periods of meditation on God’s Word and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. This prayer can also take place with the pastors of the church or existing ministry leaders. Getting more people involved in the ministry selection process can only help the individual find greater clarity. We can also suggest that those looking for some kind of ministry placement pray along with any small groups of which that they might be a part. The ideas generated after times of prayer can be insightful and full of promise. Prayer first, action second.
2) Seek godly counsel.
As believers, gifted by the Spirit, there are times when God uses other people to speak into the lives of those seeking to serve. Spending time with church staff members, Godly mentors, older Christians, or those already serving in ministry can offer a wealth of wisdom. Intentional, deep conversations together can illuminate ideas for ministries that might be a good match. Drawing from their own personal experience, those giving Godly counsel can share their past successes and challenges with regard to serving the Lord. Perhaps a mentor could even serve alongside someone younger and less experienced so they can process their involvement together and discover the right path forward. Listening to those God has put in their lives can be a powerful resource in any ministry endeavor.
3) Learn about your gifts.
In order for a ministry to be a good fit for an individual, it is extremely helpful if that person has spiritual or other gifts that are able to thrive within the ministry. Many times enthusiastic people embark on service opportunities with great abandon, only to realize that they really were not made by God to succeed in that particular area. As church leaders, we can use the wealth of resources which are readily available to aid our church members in discovering their gifts and their strengths, ultimately pointing them in the direction of ministries that will encourage them in depth of effectiveness. What a joy it is to see someone serving the Lord with their Spirit-given gifts. The holistic transformation that is possible is incredible and unlike any other secular experience. Moving people forward in their faith as they see God work in and through them will benefit the church and its members, as well as those seeking after a relationship with the Living God.
4) Experiment or try something out.
If all else fails, just give something a try! Many times we work with church members who seem paralyzed by indecision with regard to serving. However, if they really don’t know how to proceed and their gifting seems diverse or unclear, we can encourage them to experiment with a variety of ministries and see what seems to work well for them. Short-term commitments to ministries allows people to get a small taste of what might be required without an overwhelming stake in the game. Joining for a few months or a year might be just the thing to help them determine whether or not they fit well into the ministry for the long haul. Serving for a season may be encouraging and point them to areas of ministry where they can find success.
Overall, God honors our pure motives. Those wanting to serve in ministry should serve with a joyful, pure heart. If the fit isn’t right, that’s okay. We as church leaders can lovingly guide our volunteers as God directs us, knowing that God’s plan for all our lives is ultimately revealed in the journey we take. May the journey be filled with love and good deeds, bringing glory to our great God who is worthy of both our praise and our service.