Lay leaders don’t usually think of themselves as pastors.
One of the main reasons people leave a church is because they feel disconnected.
Pastors preach on Sundays. Pastors make hospital visits. Pastors lead Bible studies and prayer groups. Pastors answer the phone late at night, when someone’s in crisis. Pastors connect people, helping them find friends and mentors. Pastors listen compassionately and offer Biblical advice. Pastors organize work parties, moving parties, and meal trains, as needs arise.
If your church has more than 30 members, though, your pastor can’t do all of this alone.
Ministry leaders can and should take on the role of pastoring the volunteers on their team, mainly because you’re already in a closer relationship with them, and communicating with them regularly, but also because pastoring your team will keep your team healthy and invite growth.
I’m not talking about preaching or substituting yourself for the pastor in your team’s lives, but if you assist with these types of activities, your pastor’s load will be lightened, while your team feels better cared for.
One of the main reasons people leave a church is because they feel disconnected. Even volunteers can feel this way, and often pastors assume that if someone is serving, they are connected, so they require less attention. That’s only true if their ministry leader is picking up on some of those pastoring duties.
Plenty of people join a ministry hoping to make connections and to feel like they are part of a team, but find themselves just doing a job alongside others just doing theirs.
A person doesn’t have to be called to be a pastor, to have access to the ministry giftings of a pastor.
As a ministry leader, you’ve already been identified by your pastor as someone with leadership qualities, which means you’re already operating in at least some of the ministry gifts of the Holy Spirit. All it takes is a shift in your mindset.
Pastoring your team means prioritizing praying together, giving people the opportunity to share their prayer requests and praise reports and minister to one another. It means paying attention to who’s moving or having a baby and organizing your team to help them through their life transition. It means matching up new recruits with experienced mentors. It means making yourself available for prayer and practical support, outside of your time ministering together.
Communicate with your pastor as needs arise on your team and let them know what action steps you are ready to take to meet those needs. Give your pastor the opportunity to take the lead, while reassuring him or her that everything will be handled, whether they want to step in or not.
Depending on your pastoral staff, one of the ways you can pastor your team may be to communicate needs and service opportunities to them.
Pastoring your team might sound scary to you.
Maybe you don’t want to get too involved in people’s lives, or you’re more of an introvert and prefer to keep distance from people. The Holy Spirit can give you what you need to lead in this new way, if you ask. He loves to give good gifts, and He especially loves when we ask to be stretched in our areas of weakness.
If you take the time to truly care for the needs of your team, others will be drawn to your ministry. Everyone wants to be loved, supported, seen and appreciated.
Pastoring your team will create a sense of community that attracts others, and as your team grows, is cared for, and gets stronger, your church will benefit. That sense of community will also lead to fewer no-shows, and better volunteer retention.
I believe you’ll receive a personal benefit as well, even if this doesn’t come naturally to you. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
By loving your team well, your relationship with Christ will deepen. By leaning on the Holy Spirit to give you strength where you are weak, your faith will grow. What have you got to lose?
Mikayla’s new book “Unbox Your Greatness” releases December 20, 2019. Learn more at http://unboxyourgreatness.com.