Get People Unstuck, Make a Bigger Impact

Leap of Faith.jpg

I hear from many clergy that they feel stuck – or that their churches seem stuck in terms of both numerical and spiritual growth.

I also learned from my research a few years ago that some pastors question the impact of their ministries. They’re just not sure they are making a difference.

Do you struggle with either of those issues?

If not – and I’m being serious – please leave a comment below how you keep your church growing and yourself impactful!

If you do wrestle with moving your church forward and feeling that you are making a difference, I would like to suggest a partial answer to both problems by posing this question: do you focus on empowering the people you serve and lead?

Business literature uses “empowerment” terminology a lot, of course. However, we don’t have to look to management theory or psychology or the science of emotional intelligence to see the critical importance of using our leadership positions to empower.

The word means to give someone the power or authority to do something.

Jesus empowered his disciples:

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (Matthew 10:1 NIV)

Paul promoted empowerment as the very essence of church leadership:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry… (Ephesians 4:11 – 12a NIV)

But what does empowerment in church ministry look like? (It seems clear the Apostle Paul suggested that ultimately every convert would be involved in ministry of some sort!)

Let’s start by listing a few things that may be useful or even necessary in certain situations but definitely are not empowerment:

  • It is not simply telling people what to do.

  • It is not asking someone who appears somewhat capable to fill an available slot.

  • It is not making all the decisions about the projects and vision of the church.

What is empowerment in the context of church? I don’t know every answer to the question but I do know that first and foremost it includes leading people to a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. It means we make disciples, not simply converts.

I also know that we must create a culture of empowerment. But more about that next week!

Meanwhile, I have this challenge for you. As you prayerfully consider the people you lead, do you sense that God wants certain individuals to do something (large or small)? What kind of power or authority – again, large or small – could you invest in those persons that might encourage them to step out in faith?

Think about how you can empower them!

Dr. JeannieComment