Replacing Yourself

photoReplacing Yourself: As a church staff we read the book, “Deep and Wide.” This has stirred in me a desire to position the kids ministry of Southern Hills towards a strong future. After reading this book, I read a followup book, “The Seven Practices of Effective Ministry.” This book challenges pastors to position their volunteers to answer the mandate of Jesus to disciple others. This hit me hard and I apologize if I have not positioned you to be the church. The author writes,

“One distinction that separates the church from most other businesses is that it requires a significant number of volunteers to make it work. A small group model, for example, requires a leader to every ten to twelve individuals. (or sometimes 2-3 depending on the class and Sunday). The average company could never afford to hire someone to be exclusively devoted to only twelve customers.”

You are vital to the ministry of Southern Hills. If all the staff were to quit or be fired on Saturday, ministry would continue to happen on Sunday and thereafter. If our volunteers were to quit or be fired on Saturday, we would have to shut the doors of this church the next day. We have about 120 volunteers who serve with the kids. If you were to take those 120 volunteers who work 2-3 hours a week and pay them minimum wage it would cost $150,000 per year for those service house!!! The truth is, we as a church could never afford the level of expertise that you bring.

Volunteering on the kids ministry team is not about filling a spot or getting work done, it is about engaging in the ministry of discipleship with kids…it is an invitation to grow spiritually. We do not need volunteers who will give a few hours of their time, we need servant leaders who will pour spiritually into the hearts of the kids and enter into that discipleship relationship with them.

So my question for you is this: Who do you know who does not have a role here in the church? Who could you ask to come do ministry along side of you next week? Who is not currently engaged in the discipleship of kids, who needs to answer the call and make a difference? The section of the book that has been on my heart and that I wanted to share with you was on Apprenticing and it says,

“The most effective way to train people is to model what needs to be done by apprenticing, but this can be a frightening idea for the average leader. Certain myths exist that cloud what apprenticing really means. For example, one notion is that you must be more skilled than the person you are apprenticing. However, you are not responsible for knowing everything there is to know about an area of ministry. But you are responsible for handing off what you do know. You don’t have to be an incredibly talented player to coach someone how to become better at playing the game. A few years ago Fast Company Magazine profiled Doug Blevins, a man who had aspired all his life to be an NFL football coach. So he started blitzing New York Jets manager Dick Steinberg with faxes detailing the flaws of Cary Blanchard, the Jets’ place kicker at the time. Steinberg was evidently impressed with Blevins’s knowledge of the game and hired him as a kicking consultant in 1994. The amazing thing is that Blevins himself has never attempted a field goal. He’s never punted for any team, on any level, let along in the NFL. Because he was born with cerebral palsy, he has, in fact, never even walked. The point is that you should not let what you don’t know keep you from apprenticing someone. Your responsibility is to teach what you do know. And if you develop a heart to coach, you can help people grow and improve their skills.”  

The truth of the matter is that some day, eventually, you will be out of the picture for this team. You will find employment somewhere in another state, you will move to another area of ministry, you will need to step down and get ahold of your own life, or maybe you will pass away. One way or another, life will move on. We need to be working today to apprentice someone to take our spot on the team so that we position the the ministry for a strong future.

In my pocket I almost always have a composition notebook. I keep the first of the 80 sheets of paper specifically to write down the names of the people who I want to apprentice. Names like Eric Simmons and Jeff Cataldo. These are two guys who I saw could pour into kids. I began praying for them. I invited them to come check things out. And now they are making disciples of the first and third grade boys. My challenge is for you to take some time, pray for our team of leaders, pray for who to seek after and write their names down. Then, when the time is right, invite them to come make a difference for the kingdom.