Posted by: mattdabbs | October 12, 2009

From in the Door to in the Mission

There is certainly a difference between just getting someone “in the door” on Sunday and actually getting them to be a part of the mission of the church. It is important for congregations to evaluate how effective they are at making that transition in the lives of those who are seeking. I want to toss out one idea that is simple but has been transformative in the way our congregation views involvement.

In the past we used more of a “general recommendation” approach to involvement. Someone places membership, the elders find out what they are good at, contact the deacon or ministry leader over that area so and hope everything clicks. The results were not very good. Deacons and ministry leaders are volunteer help who only have so much time and attention to give their area. Most have a difficult time keeping up with the general recommendation approach.

We have moved to job descritions rather than general recommendations. By working through the following process we have developed an effective way to involve people in the ministries of the congregation:

  1. We start by asking deacons and ministry leaders what their area would look like if it was firing on all cylinders.
  2. The deacon/ministry leader is then asked to write down what actions would need to occur for their ministry to be effective.
  3. Next we ask them how many people would it take to make that happen.
  4. Then they write out detailed job descriptions for people to agree to do
  5. Last, they begin asking people to do the job descriptions they outlined.

This has several advantages to the old approach:

  1. People know exactly what they are being asked to do and are agreeing to do it. This is way better than saying to them, “I think you would be great in evangelism…” It is saying, “You are signing up to host a Bible study that will be every other Tuesday night in your home. You will be expected to provide some light refreshments and adequate/comfortable space for 6-10 people to study the Bible together.”
  2. It is measurable – we can tell if it is happening.
  3. The deacon/ministry leader and the volunteer are all on the same page
  4. The congregation becomes more mission minded as these needs/job descriptions are regularly brought up before the congregation.


  1. I like this idea. I’ll be sharing it with my elders and seeing how we can apply it in our context. Thanks for sharing!

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