A colleague of mine was recently bemoaning the fact that she cannot find anyone to teach church school in her congregation. No one. She said that most of the parents work, are exhausted and needing to be fed on Sundays. Others feel ill-equipped. Older members in the church tell her “Sorry, but I’ve done my time. Been there done that.” So each Sunday she flies solo and tries her best to give the few children who come a meaningful experience.
Fortunately, I don’t find myself in her position. There is an incredible willingness in our congregation amongst parents and members-at-large to do their part in supporting the faith formation of the children and teens in the church. And the Christian Education ministry isn’t alone. The same enthusiasm can be found in other ministries of the church as well. A recent memorial service called on the support of the Ruth Ministry (an invaluable ministry in our church that provides receptions for memorial services). Within a few hours, Pat Caswell had assembled a team of volunteers to bake, serve and host the event. The response to her call for help was incredible.
Why is this? No doubt we have an incredible congregation with a broad range of talents who are generous in giving their time. But, I’d also add that our unique approach to being a “team ministry” is a big component.
The team ministry approach here at the First Congregational Church when it first was employed was certainly “outside the box” if you will. But more and more churches who are reporting growth and vitality are working in a similar fashion. When employed, team ministry is not only extremely effective, but a model that embodies the characteristics of the most powerful team ministry of all, the Holy Trinity, sometimes called the “Biblical Dream Team”. Modeling our work after that of the Trinity translates into working collaboratively in harmony, equal yet unique, all-for-one and one-for-all.
In a recent article I read, the author suggested that he used to believe that there were two different types of people, those who walk into a room and say, “Here I am!” and those who walk in and say, “There YOU are”. But then he went on to say that over the years, he learned that there was a third type of person, who walks into a room and says, “Here WE are”. And that’s the perspective for which we really all should be striving. That is one that acknowledges the vital importance of community over self. He goes on to say, “Church teams or teams of Christ-followers are groups of people who pull together to reach a common goal for the sake of Christ. They are the people pulling not only for their church or organization, but pulling for each other, and pulling for their shared potential in life and ministry.”
We presented the congregation with a showcase of our ministry teams last Sunday at our Ministry Fair. It will also be available this Sunday and we encourage everyone to experience it before or after worship, or even during the week. It is truly a visual cornucopia of team ministry in its splendor. It’s a celebration of people working as God’s hands in our church and community. The Ministry Fair’s purpose is not only to educate folks of all of the wonderful things happening here, but also to encourage you to be part of this special team. You may discover a call to lend your time and talents in a way that surprises you or perhaps you have a particular knack for something and are willing to share that with your church family. But beyond that we also want everyone to learn how the ministry teams in our church can best serve you. So please come by and experience your congregation saying to you “Here We are”!