By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator
As previously mentioned, the 4 Es – engage, equip, empower, encourage – provide an intentional process to guide the development of the priesthood of all believers for participation in Jesus’ ministry.
So where do we start? Engage is the first of the 4 Es for a reason. The process of development begins where all good things begin – in relationship. Engage is all about relationship. Through purposeful engagement with one another, we grow in Christ-centered relationships and community. It is within such relationships that we begin to recognize what God is doing in the life of another. We see that God has given one person a gift of teaching, another with hospitality, and another still with a missional mindset. We see that the Spirit is urging one person to volunteer with the youth ministry, another to pass the baton to facilitate the connect group they started, and another still to build friendships with their neighbors.
When we first recognize in relationship what God is up to in the life of another, we can recruit for ministry participation in a more meaningful way. We are more likely to recruit team members, volunteers, mentees, and new leaders who are gifted for an area of ministry rather than recruiting simply out of need. This honors the body of Christ that is made up of many parts.
The Spheres of Participation tool is designed to provoke thought about who we engage in the church community and how. If we believe in a priesthood of all believers, then development for ministry participation is meant for the whole community. It is not reserved only for those who aspire to leadership, have ministry experience, have served for years, or have been long-time members.
Church leaders, I encourage you and your leadership team to use the Spheres of Participation tool to discern what engagement can look like in your church. Consider questions such as:
- What would it look like for everyone in the local church community to be engaged?
- How can we foster recruitment in the context of recognition in relationship?
- What impact would this have?
- What shifts would current leaders have to make to achieve this?
- How can you discern with your volunteers and leaders whether their current area of ministry participation is a “good fit”?
- How will new members of the church community be engaged and invited into meaningful ministry participation?