One of the biggest challenges churches struggle with is people slipping through the cracks. They either don’t find their place to serve, or they’re in need of ministry themselves, but nobody engages them enough to find out. There’s a break in the path that leads people walking in the door into active participation.
Early in my years as an equipping ministry director I learned about the frustrations, and often the wounds, that occur from such a gap. Many of us have systems to share information about people and their gifts with our ministry leaders. I certainly did. When I learned of people with an interest in serving, I shared the information with staff and church leaders and expected connections to be made. They weren’t. When I met with staff and church leaders to find out what went wrong, each one said they had full plates and didn’t have time to reach out to people who needed to be connected. I was burdening already busy people with one more request. Out of that learning experience, a new system was born: Ministry Connectors.
What’s a Ministry Connector?
A ministry connector is someone who helps others connect with, and become involved in, a particular ministry. The ministry connector receives the names of people who need to be connected, and spends time with them to find out about their needs, desires and gifts. The connector then works to connect them with an appropriate ministry, and follows up a short time later to make sure that an appropriate connection was formed.
For a process of ministry connections to take root and thrive, church leaders have to value the importance of ministry connectors, and seek out and train a gifted leader to champion this effort. You have to build it into your overall culture of equipping through your systems of referral and follow-up to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks.
As we developed this new ministry at my church, we added a ministry connector director to the equipping core team. We figured out what connectional links and follow-up processes were needed, and we trained our ministry connectors every quarter. At these meetings we discussed what was working, what wasn’t working, and how we could do it better.
For the ministry connector system to succeed, church leadership must provide ongoing training and support to the connector team. The greatest success stories are coming out of churches that have made a commitment to regular meetings with the connectors and ongoing training for the connectors.
One of the core values of an equipping church is intentionality. Establishing ministry connectors is a way of being intentional about connecting every person in your church to service, to being served, to education, to training, to fellowship, to small groups…to being active, vital members of the body.
It’s not just a culture of connectivity that’s created; it becomes a culture of caring. When people are effectively connected, they know they belong.
[Editor’s Note: Developing ministry connector systems is part of the Equipping Institute – Level 2 training.]