A renewal challenge many congregations face is engaging in high impact ministry with limited resources. This challenge may become more acute as the dust settles in a post-pandemic and post-churched world. Fortunately, we follow a Rabbi who demonstrated the possibility of doing a lot with a little.
Here Are Some Ways to Multiply Resources to Increase Ministry
Multiplier 1: Identify Your Calling
We’ve all visited Super Walmart’s with multiple departments. Most businesses, however, must focus singularly on such things as groceries, auto parts, technology, or sports equipment. Similarly, churches must focus on their unique calling and not try to address every need.
Multiplier 2: Hire Equippers
To the extent that a church can afford staff, those hires should focus on equipping people for “works of service” (Eph. 4:12). Equipped, focused employees are multipliers of ministry and mission. Sadly, most staff do the work of ministry rather than sharing the work of ministry.
Multiplier 3: Create a Vision for a Church Unleashed
Churches should raise up ministry entrepreneurs. Ministry entrepreneurs are members who find ministry opportunities for which they are passionate and do not need congregational oversight or finances. Three “N.M.’s” guide this: 1) No Money, 2) No Monkeys, 3) No Mess.
Multiplier 4: Join with Other Ministry Partners
Another multiplier of ministry is joining those who are already engaged in mission. Existing partners often have unique skills, creative staff, existing facilities, established relationships and financial support. Joining these partners in their work helps access those valuable resources.
Multiplier 5: Consider A Merger (or, At Least, Shared Ministry)
The authors of BETTER TOGETHER (Tomberlin and Bird) highlight a new kind of merger that is successful because churches unite around a compelling vision. Are there other ministries in your neighborhood with a similar passion knowing that “two are better than one” (Eccl. 4:9)?
Multiplier 6: Move from Structure to Spontaneity
Jesus’ ministry had a delightful spontaneity about it. As life happened, ministry happened. Sometimes spontaneous congregational activities (i.e., serving at a soup kitchen a couple times a year) is as good as mountains of planning for a community supper served on sight.
Multiplier 7: Attend Inspirational Lay Training Events
Churches often rely heavily on paid staff to lead and inspire ministry. The best leadership, however, often comes from those who are not on the payroll. Take non-staff to inspirational training events so they capture a vision for what could be, then release them to get it done.
Multiplier 8: Consider Dual Employment
Dual employment of pastors is a movement afoot in missional congregations freeing up resources and providing fresh ministry connections. Establish a base salary, then let pastors find part-time employment (i.e., substitute teaching). Simply deduct earnings from the base salary.
Multiplier 9: Just Ask
James said, “You have not because you do not ask God” (4:2). To what ministry are you called for which you lack resources? Have you asked God? Have you asked God’s people? The problem isn’t resources, it’s tapping into the resources. A lot with a little begins with prayer!