How Will You Be Invited to Serve as a Leader With Christ?

by Jim on August 22, 2012


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode 008

Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Author 

The theme of my Podcasts for August is Christian Leadership.  All of the social media in our ministry (Proactive Ministries – will be centered around this theme.

In Episode 008, I will be talking about Christian Leadership in the context of “How” you may be invited to become a Leader with Christ.  The major question of this Episode is:

How Will You Be Invited to Serve as a Leader With Christ?

There are three major ways that Christian churches or other communities of faith work to recruit new Leaders.  These three ways are:

1) The Nominations Group, Team or Committee determines the Leadership “openings” or “gaps” and then discusses which Christ-followers in the faith community will be invited to lead in one of these openings or gaps.  The invitation strategy typically occurs with:

  • Discover what leadership position openings presently exist or will be coming open soon
  • The construction of a List of potential candidates who are nominated to fill the respective openings or gaps
  • Researching the phone numbers of those who are nominated
  • Callers are assigned or volunteer to make the “recruiting phone calls” for those on the list of potential candidates
  • The expected time for these calls is reasonably short, with a “yes” answer anticipated or certainly hoped for to the invitation while on the call
  • If any questions are asked regarding the nominated position then they can be answered quickly by the caller or referred to someone with more detailed knowledge, who would then call the candidate back with answers, should the candidate say, “Yes” or be seriously leaning toward a “Yes” answer. (This may take quite a while and may never actually happen.)

2) The Nominations Group, Team or Committee determines the Leadership “openings” or “gaps” and then constructs a Master Listing of either the positions or Areas in which openings exist. The Nominations Group will then have a campaign to secure “Volunteers” in the church or faith community.   The invitation strategy will involve:

  • An attractive listing of all openings in the Leadership or other ministry areas in a handout
  • People in the worship services and other major gatherings will be given a copy of these sheets and asked to simply “check” the position, positions or ministry areas they are interested in filling or serving in going forward
  • The Nominations Group then harvests the choices made and begins to make a list of those to nominate based on this input
  • Those nominated are then phoned to get a confirmation of their willingness to fill the respective positions or work in the respective ministry area
  • Hopefully everyone who is called will be ready to sign up for the areas they expressed a willingness and interest in working in.

3) The Nominations Group, Team or Committee does not start with determining the present openings in Leadership.  They contact the church’s Prayer Ministry Team and set up a schedule with them for close prayer support for the work of Leadership Selection.  Then those doing the Nominations work distributes a Master List of all the resident members of the respective Faith Community, Church or Group.  The members of the Nominations Team then spend considerable time in praying over everyone on the common list. They will do the following strategy:

  • Pray for every individual and family on the Master List
  • Ask for clear prayer discernment on placing a “mark” by any person or family that they individually feel “led” to mark as EITHER a potential Leader or someone to become more involved in ministry
  • They will then meet with their respective “Prayer Partner” to construct a list of names they both checked on their discernment list.  They will make a combined, common list of these names
  • At this point they will construct lists of the names came through the prayer discernment process
  • Personal recruiting visits will then be set up on the calendar by phone with everyone who is nominated
  • During these “in person” visits, a discussion takes place of HOW their name came up through prayer discernment and what this may mean going forward
  • Those nominated are then asked to pray personally for three days to see where God may be calling them to lead or serve going forward from there

In some ways, we are calling for an important death to “mere volunteerism” which should be replaced by spiritual recruiting, fueled by prayer discernment on the part of those doing the nominations as well as those considering serving in a new position or ministry.

Our major encouragement text for this episode comes from: Acts 13:2-3.  Even in the early church people were prayed over and prayed themselves about where God was calling them to specifically serve. In this text, Barnabas and Paul were set apart for specific ministry assignments.

2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,  “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work  to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them  and sent them off. 

Another major spiritual principle we will discuss is: “Church Work Kills, But Ministry Fulfills.”  I first heard this phrase from Dr. Warren Lathem, who at that time was the Senior Pastor at Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, GA.  It truly made sense to me as we discussed it.  It is important to understand the meaning of this great truth.

In this definition let’s start with the phrase, “Church Work.”  By church work we are describing any task, role or leadership position in the church that we have been asked to be responsible for that we did not feel in our hearts we truly were being led by God to do.

For example, an opening occurs for a teacher in the childrens’ Sunday School for children in the fourth and fifth grades.  The Nominations Group or Committee gets together and talks about this opening.  Members of the group then try to come up with names of people who could possibly be able to teach this class.  They mention Sandy Dodson, who works as an Elementary School teacher at a nearby school.  She joined the church less than three months ago and has not become part of any other ongoing ministry.

Someone on the Nominations Group is assigned to call Sandy and see if she can be persuaded to fill this position at least until next fall.  She asks them what exactly is involved and they tell her, “Oh you will be great at this Sandy!  It’s really just going through a very simple lesson book and Teacher’s Guide to prepare a short lesson for the children in the fourth and fifth grades each week.  I know with you being a teacher of elementary children already that this will really be a piece of cake for you.  The actual teaching is about 20 minutes and the rest of the time is spent in doing special reading and some crafts.  Can we put you down for this, at least until the end of this school year?  That will only be seven months.”

Sandy thought about it a minute and felt some very mixed emotions inside.  First of all, she did recently join the church and wanted to become more involved, but she wanted to share in some Bible studies and a new class on Sunday mornings during Sunday School for new members, led by the Pastor.  She also was quite worn out by the end of the school week with elementary students and parents.  Actually the last thing she would want to do in church would be to sign up for another teaching assignment with elementary kids every Sunday!

“I don’t think I can do that right now, Pat, but thanks for asking me.  I really wanted to go to the new member class that Pastor is leading since I missed the last one.  So I am going to decline the invitation.”

Pat replied, “O.K., Sandy.  But we have really struggled with finding someone to do this.  We have asked several others and they can’t do it because of family issues and children problems.  So you were in a way our last hope.  The teacher that has been doing it is moving in two weeks to Chicago and so we are just out.  Do you think you could take it until we can find someone else in the mean time?  I would be glad to see if Pastor Carlos would be willing to have you come in when it worked for your schedule and meet with him about the New Member materials.  What do you say?”

“Well, I guess I could do it a few Sundays until you found someone.  But that’s a lot to ask Pastor about doing just for me.  I would not feel good about that.  Maybe I can just catch the next one?”

“Wonderful! I am so glad you are going to allow the Lord to use you in this way.  It is going to make such a difference in the children’s lives I know.  Can you start in two weeks?”

Sandy did take the class and felt very trapped to do so.  While she did a good job with the children she let others in the Sunday School teacher group that she was doing this just to help Pat and the others who are searching hard to find someone else more permanently.  Pat nor Sandy ever communicated to Pastor Carlos that Sandy really wanted to attend his New Member’s Class.  Sandy quit teaching the class three months later and also moved her membership to another church.

Some questions to consider:

1) Have you ever had an experience similar to this in your own church?

2) Why do you think that Pat and the committee were so driven to fill the position for the class?

3)  What would have been a far better approach to use in contacting Sandy about this position?

4) Once she had stated that she did not want to take this, how could Pat have responded differently than shoveling guilt on her about the circumstance?


Please feel free to go to our Podcast Blogsite at and leave a Voicemail by clicking the button on the right side of the page OR by emailing me your responses to the questions or another incident that you have experienced in being selected as a Leader in your church that was less than positive.  If you have had a very positive experience of this, I would love to receive that account as well.

Blessings on your life this day and again, thanks for allowing me to share with you in this way.  Go out and live your life in Christ with JOY and ADVENTURE!  I hope you will download the next episode.  And it would be wonderful if you would share it with a friend!

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