Summary: Where is a church supposed to get workers and what are they supposed to be doing?
There are two Biblical models that show where a church is to get workers.
There is a model where churches send out workers to strengthen or to plant other churches. The church at Antioch sent Paul out and later Paul sent Timothy and Titus to strengthen the churches where he had been. I call this the “Timothy-Titus” model for simplicity sake. I would love to see this model used more in our own convention. I would love to have some workers sent out from other churches to help our church.
The other Biblical model is that used by Jesus and spoken of in The Great Commission. He made disciples and trained them for the Kingdom work. He didn’t choose seminary students or ask other churches to send them, instead he recruited them, taught them, trained them, and then he put them to work. He never asked Peter is he was called to preach. He never asked Matthew if he thought he would be prepared to write a gospel. He saw their strengths, their gifts, and also built a foundation within them through relationship-based discipleship.
Recently, in a discussion in church about workers, Brother Marty remarked that I never asked him if he wanted to get up and speak, or teach, or lead. He stated that he was scared to death the first time I asked him to do so. Now, however, he’s glad I did and feels much more confident in front of people and serving the Lord in a public, leadership position.
After returning from the recent conference on Church Decline, I arrived at church on Sunday morning in a prayerful mode. As soon as I arrived at church I was asking God to show me who could fill some gaps in our church. As I passed the entrance to the church I noted for the first time that every person who leaves our church must pass by this small narrow area and that if we posted greeters at the right spot, nobody could ever be missed. It was if scales dropped from my eyes. But, Lord, who can we get to do this greeting? I went into the Ladies Bible enrichment and greeted Sister Kathy and Sister Jean. It was almost as if there was a glowing neon arrow over Kathy’s head, pointing directly at her. In a moment of unbridled enthusiasm I began recruiting. “Sister Kathy, do you love the Lord?” I asked and she, of course assured me that she did. “Would you do anything in your power to help your church grow?” She assured me that indeed she would. I crooked my finger at her and said, “Follow me,” and led her to a spot near that narrow entrance. “From now on, following the Sunday morning service, this is your spot. I want you to stand here and greet every person who passes by you and let them know you were glad they were in church. I want you to be an official greeter.” She agreed and is already doing that job.
There were two more spots to fill. I already had on my heart someone who could fill a spot but had not had opportunity to approach her. At the last business meeting, as I shared the pastor’s report, I shared how I had recruited Kathy and how I needed two more people to serve as greeters in much the same way. Following the business meeting, Sister Anne, the other person I had in mind, came to me and said, “I’ll take that back door and greet folks.” We joked that I didn’t have to use the “Do you love the Lord?” speech, but I told her that I felt that the Lord had led us to that.
Many churches cry out to the Lord that they need workers. The Bible says we are to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send workers. However, we must first seek to best utilize the workers he has already provided. We must seek to recruit those who aren’t doing anything, train those who need training and then involve them.
Have you ever worked on a budget for your home? If so, you might discover that you are wasting money. I often tell people that they should examine what they do with their pocket change. If you put your change in a can or jar at the end of each day, you might be shocked to find out how much you’ve saved at the end of the week. I’ve discovered I can have a GREAT cup of Coffee at 7-11 for $1.25 (if I bring my own cup) as opposed to $4.25 at Starbucks (using their cup). Many people are ditching their land-lines and just using cell phones. Where can you do better in your budget?