When it comes to teaching, preparing, and motivating church leaders I like to use the following principles to guide me: envisioning, enlisting, equipping, encouraging, evaluating, and envisioning (revised).
#1 – Envisioning. This is assessing current reality and seeing what it could be. Most people are attracted and called to a vision or mission. They want to make a difference by serving in something that is bigger than themselves. This is where I recruit by casting a vision for the ministry (small groups, mission trip, facilities, Sunday school, mission trip, etc.).
#2 – Enlisting. This is personally recruiting people who are potential leaders and servants to help achieve the mission of the church. I don’t see this as an imposition, but as an invitation to serve Jesus Christ through one of the ministries of the church. Enlistment can happen in various ways ranging from a general appeal through the normal communication avenues of the church or a personal invitation by the pastor or another key leader.
#3 – Equipping. Once a person is enlisted, he or she must be trained to do the ministry. Good training helps prepare and motivate leaders and potential leaders. When a person feels confident in what they are doing they are usually more motivated and do a better job. Equipping can be done through a variety of ways: seminars, books, mentoring, webinars, CDs, DVDs, field trips to other churches who are doing it well, etc. Equipping and training should be ongoing.
#4 – Encouraging. Ministry can be discouraging, especially if you feel like you have been forgotten. Every leader, no matter how great they are or how long they have been serving needs support. Encouraging leaders should happen in a variety of ways: public recognition, cards, emails, gifts, pats on the back, time off, etc.
#5 – Evaluating. A primary job of every leader is to accurately define current reality. How’s it going? What’s going well? What could be going better? What are our plans for accomplishing our strategic objectives? What methods will we use to achieve our goals? What changes do we need to make? How do we measure success? As leaders go through the evaluating process they usually find hope and encouragement regarding the things that are frustrating to them and become excited about what is going well.
#6 – Envisioning (revised): We began with envisioning and we return to it. The cycle begins again.