As your church grows, your ability to know everyone’s name and story shrinks. Sure, there are still many people you know who’ve been at your church for years. However, if you want to have the same or greater impact on your congregation as it grows, then you need to focus on the number of people you can mentor and pour into on a deeper level. As Andy Stanley says, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”
Those you work alongside each day are the people within your immediate sphere of influence. As you mentor and disciple them, they can have a similar impact on those within their immediate sphere of influence such as teens in youth group, volunteers, members of their small group, and more. Jesus modeled this for us when he developed a core team of apostles who then spread the Gospel with the known world. He entrusted the greatest and most important message of all time with these men.
Here are three simple yet powerful ways to disciple your team:
#1 – Be an example
The people you lead are watching you.
They’re watching how you handle a difficult situation or individual.
They’re watching how you handle your anger . . . how you manage church finances . . . what you choose to post on Twitter . . . how you treat the server at a restaurant . . . whether you put your family first or just say you do.
If you never leave the office before 7p.m., they’ll feel like they have to do likewise.
If you’re kind to an elder to his face yet speak poorly of him behind his back to your staff, they’ll take note.
Spend more time leading by example than telling your team what to do. They’ll listen more carefully to what you say when they see you living out your own words.
#2 – Care about their non-work life
While those on staff at the church may report to you, they are more than just worker bees. Yes, they need to perform their job responsibilities with excellence, meet deadlines, and more.
However, they also need to know you’re personally invested in them.
Ask how their families are doing.
Send them a note of congratulations when their children are born.
Make sure they leave work on time to be home for dinner.
An email or stopping by their desk to wish someone a happy birthday, sending a handwritten thank you note to recognize someone’s efforts, or bragging on your team on Sunday morning can go a long way toward making them feel appreciated and valued.
#3 – Invest in your team
You’ve invested in training to get to where you’re at today. Seminary, Bible college, conferences, and hours of self-study have likely played a role in your development as a pastor and leader.
Regardless of where they’ve come from or their current credentials, your team needs to continually develop as well.
If you have little to no budget for professional development, try recommending an article or blog post and discuss it as a team. Teach them in a staff meeting something you learned in seminary that they could benefit from. If you can spend a bit, buy a copy of a book for each team member and discuss it over a few months. Send team members to church conferences or purchase online courses.
They’ll appreciate working at a church where the leadership values them enough to invest time, energy, and money into their development. You’ll have a team with stronger skills and leadership capabilities as a result.
We all want our congregations to grow and for believers to grow spiritually. As your church grows, focus on investing in your team. Then entrust them to pour themselves out into volunteers and your congregation.