Like some of you, ministry has been a continual growth process for me. It seems that there are some who just “get it” and “got it” from the get go. But for me it’s been a journey; specifically, in leading a team effectively to fulfill the vision and mission that’s before us. For context, Calvary Chapel Las Vegas has paid employees in both our church and school and also has hundreds of volunteers who serve in multiple ministries. Over the past year, three principles have emerged that have helped renew the ministry and make us more effective. It’s not that these principles are new, of course they’re not, but they are being implemented more intentionally; and the fruit is evident. I want to share these things that I believe you have to get right as a leader to have a fruitful ministry.
1) RIGHT PEOPLE
First, its critical to have the right people on your leadership team. For leaders, the maxim has been that people are your greatest asset, but that needs fine tuning. It’s not just people; it’s the right people. Jesus spent an evening in prayer before selecting the 12 that would comprise His leadership team (Luke 6:12). He told them they hadn’t chosen Him, but He had chosen them (John 15:16); meaning they were carefully selected, not chosen rashly or arbitrarily. When you’re bringing someone into your leadership team, it’s worth prayerfully waiting, in order to choose the right person who is in love with Jesus, has biblical integrity, is gifted and skilled, and is passionate about what God has called them to. When it comes to your team, you are as good as the people you surround yourself with. Sometimes in the Calvary context excessive emphasis is put on the senior pastor, when in reality we all know it’s about much more than just one man. Moreover, it’s not just who we bring on, but also who we hang on to. One of the hardest decisions to make in a ministry is to let an employee go or to tell a team leader that their season in a particular area is coming to an end. But in the end, you always have to do what God is directing you to do, what is best for the leadership team, and what is best for the church overall. Consider your team right now and evaluate whether or not you have the right people on board. Make the right decision and choose the right people.
2) DEFINED MISSION
Second, its vital to define your mission. There are so many good things to be involved in: homeless ministries, radio and media outreach, missions, conferences, Bible school, schools of ministry and satellite campuses. It’s a potentially endless list, but there is a threshold you can reach where you’re involved in so many things, that you are effective in none of them. While the biblical mandate is clear for every local church to make disciples of all nations and to equip believers for the work of the ministry, how that works out practically changes from church to church. Put in the time to pray and fast, so you can hear from God. With your leadership team, define the mission that God has given to you. Then, evaluate all the things you’re doing and make the difficult decision to cut out those things (even good things) that don’t fit within that defined mission. We have been going through that process, and it’s bearing fruit for our church. This pruning process will help you avoid “mission drift” and make your ministry more fruitful.
3) UNFLINCHING FAITHFULNESS
And finally, as you have the right people and a defined mission, go after it with all your heart. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:2 that there’s one thing required of a servant of God and that is faithfulness. Every servant wants to hear Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” I like to note He doesn’t say, “good and famous.” He says, “good and faithful!” We need to make sure we are aiming at one thing as His servants, and that is unflinching faithfulness. In our ready-made culture, we want immediate results. The reality is that any good thing that lasts takes time to build, whether it’s a marriage, a business or a ministry. I remind our church planters that they’re embarking on an adventure that requires an investment of faithfulness over time. Be committed to put the time and effort in faithfully; day by day, person by person, outreach by outreach, teaching by teaching, like the faithful farmer that Paul talked about, and God will be faithful to bring the increase.
I’m praying that as you read this article, God guides you in each of these three areas and gives you the courage, strength and wisdom to make the necessary changes for His glory.