Pastors: 3 Ministry Adjustments Guaranteed to Increase Your Spiritual Influence

by Jim on January 18, 2014


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode #80  –  1-18-14    Our Sponsor: Proactive Ministries

Your Host: Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Executive Director of Proactive Ministries

Hello and welcome to each of you who are part of our Ministry Encouragement Community.  Ministry can be hard, challenging and exhausting.  It can be a thankless endeavor and we can easily grow DIS-couraged as we go about it from day to day.  I’m blessed and encouraged that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to share in this week’s Podcast.  It’s hard to believe but this is our eightieth episode.  You may be new here today – if so – wonderful, welcome and I hope you will subscribe and download all the episodes that are online for your listening later – right off your smartphone, computer, tablet or other device.  If you’re a long-timer with me, praise God for you – I recall a number of you coming up when I’m teaching at your church or in your area and commenting that you’re a faithful listener!

This Episode is primarily for PASTORS.  However, I know most Christ-followers everywhere love to read wisdom and counsel that is shared with Pastors and other Clergy Leaders.  I will be giving every Pastor 3 major, practical adjustments they can incorporate into their respective ministries (if they don’t do these already!).  Their ministry effectiveness will increase substantially and immediately.  I promise.  Here’s the topic:

Pastors: Choose These 3 Ministry Adjustments Guaranteed to Increase Your Spiritual Influence

As with 99% of our teaching with Pastors, Leaders and Congregations – these three adjustments are not theoretical or difficult to understand.  They’re pretty simple and nothing new.  However, for a variety of reasons they have become “Forgotten Pastoral Ministry Practices” which at one time were done as some of the bedrock basics of effective pastoral work.  It’s my prayer for every Pastor who receives these that you will know they are shared as encouragement, not criticism;  out of hope, not despair; and in the spirit of wanting the very best for every pastor’s ministry.  So here they are:

Ministry Area #1: Pastoral Ministry With Worship Guests


In smaller, older and more traditional congregations this model has been adapted by Pastors at a tremendous cost of missing the personal touch that Pastor can have with most Worship Guests.  Perhaps the average worship attendance in this kind of church is 200 to 250 and on several Sundays a month there are two to five Worship Guests present.  This congregation is counting largely on being “friendly” by saying good morning and then good morning again at the “greeting time” when worship goes into full recess – but if the Worship Guests don’t put their personal information on the attendance pad, book, or cards – they will come in and go out once more with no one asking, knowing or remembering their names.

Now Pastors, I know that you have more than you can get done on Sunday mornings.  You are the worship leader, the Pastor of the congregation, the sermon deliverer and the one who numbers of folk come up to and give you little notes or ask you to be sure to remember a detail on their mind.  You’re up front – a distance away.  There’s a clear, timed agenda to follow.  And even if you spot one or more Worship Guests in the sanctuary or gathering space – they may well not hang around to greet you as you shake hands with people leaving the service.  SO- what can you do to change your level of spiritual and relational influence with Worship Guests?

  • Refuse and discontinue to write, have a Staff person write or have mailed any follow up letter that you have not personalized to each Worship Guest or Family.  Use blue ink and write across the correspondence the person or people’s names individually indicating that you personally recall something about them being there during that service.  Make certain, when possible the letter addresses them by their first name(s) not by any salutation such as, “Dear Visitor” or “Dear Friends” or any form that resembles it.  Is your own handwriting legible?  Work at it.  You can do it.
  • See that each piece of Worship Guest correspondence is hand addressed with an individual stamp.  Have your Staff or you pick up stamps that “loudly stand out” of the mail stack.  And trust me, every last one of us will instantly set aside from the “pile” we are sorting ANY hand written item, addressed to us personally.  Does this take more Staff time – yes!  But it is so worth the time!
  • In some congregations where Pastors make this an outreach ministry priority – they send handwritten, personal, attractive, odd-sized cards with a “Friendship” theme, always put in a hand-addressed envelope with one of those “stand out stamps” on it.  In a number of churches where we have trained Laity Outreach Teams, who visit Worship Guests in their homes – these families had actually taken these cards out of the envelope and placed them on the fireplace mantle, just the way some families do Christmas Cards, even in the heat of July!  They wanted everyone in their family and among their friends who came to their home to notice the personally written, attractive little card that the Pastor of the church wrote to them personally!  It was a powerful witness!  Not to mention that each time they went through the room, they were reminded that not only did the Hospitality Team at church ask them their name, write it down and remembered it – so did the Senior Pastor of that church.

I’m fine with being totally anonymous at a football Stadium with 90,000 other fans, friends and foes – but when I go to a Community of Faith to worship and visit – I’m holding up a huge poster that most people and Pastors unfortunately will not notice that reads, “Will anyone in this place care enough in Christ’s love to initiate becoming my friend?”  Let’s notice the posters!

Ministry Adjustment Area #2: Pastors Relating to Laity Leadership

Pastors, here are some major changes you can make to profoundly change this critical area:

  • Learn by studying the past 12 months on your monthly ministry calendar.  How many hours on average in a week have you specifically calendared for Laity Leadership Investment by you as the Pastor?
  • Take your calendar and now look forward on it.  Plan on a minimum of calendaring four hours every week to build into your Laity Leaders, as the Spiritual Leader of the congregation and their lives.  What would this look like specifically?  Schedule meetings with each of them individually for these possible settings: Breakfast, Coffee, Tea or Coke, Lunch – and then personally arrange this with them in both a time and a location that works in their weekday schedules.  So often I share this in Pastors’ Seminars we lead and pastors will say, “They can’t do that!  They work all the time.”  You would be amazingly surprised how Laity Leaders can make and take time to have you, as their Pastor, meet with them where or near their job or shortly after they get off work if they discover you are going to build into them spiritually – with no other agenda.  There are a great list of questions to use in these visits with your Leaders which focus on their spiritual lives and not church stuff.
  • Maximize your use of the phone and social media for pastoral “touches” during each day.  A well placed voicemail letting them know you are praying for them in the next few minutes for an expressed need or “just because of life.”  Sending them a text on their cell phone doing the same kind of “touches” can be powerful.  We ALL read our text messages!  And affirming them personally on Social Media can set off others to do the same on the same “thread” which goes a long way in building community.
  • Why not use your Smartphone to take action pictures or brief videos of their children or youth at a sporting event you’re attending with them or a drama you’re sharing in where their youth are having a role?  Then post it with a fine note of affirmation for the child, youth or them as parents or grandparents?  There are many ways you can provide “touches” that will be shared with others you never have met.
  • Consistently ask each Leader, “How is it going as a key leader our church?  What can I do to support you in that as your Pastor?”  These kinds of encouragement build courage, confidence and competency among each of your Laity Leaders in ways that are beyond imagination.  We often “get them assigned and let them go forward blind” – hoping they will figure it out and do well.  We can change that personally.


Ministry Adjustment Area #3: Modeling Outreach Ministry With Strangers

  • While you’re out for breakfast, coffee or Cokes, lunch or another visit with each of your Leaders, why not model for them ministry with the server at your table or booth?  Demonstrate sensitivity and respect for your server.  Call him or her by their name, which they give you when you sit down.  Ask them about their day and listen to a bit of their story.  Take notes right on the spot, writing down their name, needs and story so you can follow up with them at a later time.  Don’t do a church commercial with the server, but work to become a bright spot in their day.  Pray with them before you have the blessing by sharing with them you guys are about to bless the food and see if they have any prayer requests you could remember them in?  You are modeling relational outreach and your Leaders in many cases have never seen this done by anyone!
  • Why not set aside three hours in your week to visit businesses in your city, town or area?  You may know some owners, managers or employees but there are typically plenty we have never personally met, asked them their name, heard some of their story and written it down to follow up with them later on.  Be sure to ask them about their business, story, history, life and interests.  You will hit some “common points” very quickly and they can become a great foundation which a new friendship can be built going forward.  Don’t do a church commercial but if they ask you about the church, give them stories more than advertisements.  We have an entire weekend of training for churches on “How To Reach Out to a Whole New Frontier in Your Community – Businesses.”  If you want to know more, call me.

Pastors are too often restrained to only having relationships with those inside the walls of the congregation and the membership of the church.  There are plenty of members who think this is exactly all they need to focus on, but in reality, most pastors could become excellent at reaching those beyond the walls.  They can also model this with their people so a “spiritual, ministry vision of relational outreach” can occur and transform many lives.


It’s my prayer that you will share this Ministry Encouragement Podcast with others in your sphere of friendship and influence.  Would you share it with your pastor or another pastor you know?  It could become a real source of encouragement for them.  My contact information is below:


Proactive Ministries Offices (Georgia, USA): (770) 803-9988


Podcast Blog site:

Facebook: Jim W. Hollis

LinkedIn: Jim Hollis

May God bless you and your family until our next Episode.  As always, I love to hear from each of you with your thoughts, ideas, prayers and suggestions as how we can build our Podcast Community.

In Christ’s Grace,



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