Moses had a problem!
He is leading a group of people on a journey through the desert, and he is doing all the work!
Does that sound like your small group or Sunday School? I wish I had a nickel every time a group leader told me that they (the group leader) was doing all the work in their group.
Fortunately, Moses had a father-in-law who helped him out of his dilemma. (Read Exodus 18:13-26 for the whole story.)
Folks, ministry is a team sport and too many Sunday School teachers that think they are the only player on the team that can score!
Here are some suggestions to enlist and involve a team to help your group minister and disciple each other more effectively.
- Delegate. Yep, delegate the work out. Ask someone to help you and give the job to them. By “give”, I mean give it to them and don’t take it back. I can almost assure you that you have group members that would love to help the leader if asked.
- Let go. Related to “do not take the work back” in the statement above. In other words, avoid the temptation to sneak around their back to see if they are getting stuff done or worse.
- Do not send a sign-up sheet around unless it is to bring a dish to the group’s next meal. Call people or have a cup of coffee with them, and ask them to help. Give them some parameters and some type of job description when you are enlisting them.
- Set expectations. If you enlist someone to call five group members a week, then tell them to call them every week. When you enlist someone to organize group Get-Togethers, tell them how many Get-Togethers (that’s what Oklahomans call a “fellowship”) they need to plan and if there are any special Get-Togethers you want to have, like for Christmas, etc.
- Set accountability. Ask the Get-Together leader when the next Get-Together is, and ask him or her in front of the group. Call your shepherd leaders and ask them how the five people are doing that they agreed to contact every week. Go down the list with them. “How are the Aardvarks? They said at the last meeting that their son needed prayer. How is he doing?” In other words, let people you are enlisting know that you intend to inspect what you expect.
- Avoid passive-aggressive behavior. (See #2 above). If you want to know how a leader is doing with an assignment, ask them! Do not ask everyone else how they are doing.
- Match the ministry to the member. In other words, do not give a technology-involved ministry to a member that uses a flip phone. Using a sign-up sheet to get members to volunteer for ministry virtually guarantees that you will have member/ministry mismatches. (See #3 above).
- The bigger the team, the bigger the impact. The more members you involve in your group’s ministry, the greater the impact of your ministry will be. A 1:5 leader/member ratio is a good start.
- Create new jobs. I had a new member ask me one time if they could greet people at the door to our classroom. I agreed, and then they told me that they had never been greeted and welcomed into the room and how awkward it made her feel. At that moment, I expanded our group’s list of leaders to include “Greeter”.
- See potential. See the team leaders in your group as your leadership pipeline. Sure, it may not take much to greet people at the door, organize Get-Togethers, or call a guest; but as your group members accomplish these small but important leadership roles, they will gain confidence to take on more important roles in the future.
- Bonus!! Go ahead and assign jobs that you could do on your own. Sometimes we buy into the axiom that “it’s easier to just do it myself”. Read Matthew 21:1-2. Jesus sent two disciples into town to get a colt for Him to ride on. Honestly, couldn’t Jesus have done this Himself? Yes, but… Jesus is not only delegating ministry, He is also making disciples. How often have you entrusted a big assignment to someone, only to have them completely drop the ball and leave you holding it? Small assignments help us learn who are the people in our groups that we can count on in a clutch. He who is faithful in a small thing is will also be faithful in much.
The Scripture passage from Exodus 18 concludes with three important take-aways. First, organizing the people for ministry made the leadership job easier for Moses to endure. Second, it made the people happy (end of verse 23). Finally, Moses listened to advice and then followed through and did it (vs 24). So when your pastor or Sunday School director suggests that you organize your group for ministry, listen to their advice and do it. It will benefit you and your group in the long run.