How far are you willing to go to get the attention of your congregation?
A pastor attending one of my workshops recently shared just how far he was willing to go–or perhaps, just how far he was driven! After the nursery attendant quit, the parents were encouraged to volunteer to staff the nursery on Sunday mornings. Most of the parents didn’t want to do it, so they complained and regularly coerced the pastor’s wife into nursery duty. The pastor encouraged folks to listen to see if God was perhaps calling them to serve in the nursery. Having no response, the pastor stepped up to the pulpit on a Sunday morning and said, “You folks can sing songs and worship God this morning. If one of you wants to get up here and preach, you are welcome to do so. I am going to the nursery and care for the youngest members of our congregation.” And that’s exactly where he remained for the entire worship service! What a message he sent to his congregation that day. When one part of the body doesn’t work according to how it was designed, the entire body is affected.
Another pastor I know believed that his volunteer ministers needed to be trained. He worked with his staff to design a fun and effective all-church training event. Four weeks prior to the scheduled training, he took a deep breath and announced it to the congregation, saying, “If you want to continue serving in your ministry role, you must attend this training. If you can’t come, it is your responsibility to meet with your team leader and be trained. Please understand: if you do not attend the training and neglect to follow up with your team leader, you will not be included in the next volunteer ministry schedule.” He repeated the announcement every Sunday leading up to the event. What a message he sent to his congregation that day. We value your time and willingness to serve so much that we are going to be certain that you have the information and training you need for the ministry we are asking you to do.
A staff member from a church shared with me that her pastor has been encouraging each member of his congregation to serve. He recently exhorted them to “exchange your bib for an apron.” What a message he sent to his congregation that day. You have been equipped; now it’s time for you to go out and serve.
Brave men, these pastors. In each case, they risked confrontation, and I’m sure there was some grumbling and grousing as a result of their actions. But the churches didn’t collapse and the pastors weren’t evicted from their pulpits! Each pastor stood firm in the strength of his conviction and challenged the congregation to actually be the body of Christ, according to God’s design.