Core Concept: Consistency

I left you with the thirty thousand foot of “consistency” when I said, “Having ministry partners (volunteers) who provide a consistent face for traffic personnel, greeters, ushers, first aid, ministry connections, information centers and other areas are vital. It can make you or break you.” Well this could never be more true.

Side note: you’ll hear me refer to volunteers as “ministry partners”. That is because they are the life blood of the local church, they are ministers! I have the great privilege of seeing some 10,000 ministry partners be involved on a weekly basis where I serve and it is AMAZING.

Back to “consistency”. The reason this is one of the four core concepts of Street to the Seat is because it is vital to the “belonging” of everyone on the campus. Let’s break this into to three areas of learning: Reason, Relationships, and Retention for our discussion.

1. Reason

They are three significant reasons for consistency and they are
(1) Flexibility (2) Fellowship (3) Follow through. That seems simple enough, but lets look at this more closely.

Flexibility is huge in the area of ministry partners as they will most likely not give you more than one to two hours a week. That is significant to know, because if you are asking them to serve 3 – 4 hours per week and they are only have 1 to give, you need to be prepared to supplement their area. Case in point, I’ve had persons who would tell me they were going to serve all six services that we offer every weekend. I know that isn’t true. There is no way someone is going to attend all six of our services every week. Shoot, I don’t even attend all six. O.K. well maybe I do, but I’m a pastor. But for the average person to commit to more than 1 or 2 hours a week or potentially 3 – 4 hours on a weekend is probably all you are going to get. So when you are enlisting, training, and positioning ministry partners, do it in such a way that it provides flexibility, not only to the ministry but them the person. Think through alternating weekends, multiple persons serving in the same area, allowing persons to shift their service times with others on their team, etc… Creating an environment of flexibility among your ministry partners is huge. They will love you for it and it will be healthy for them and the ministry.

Fellowship is another huge part of consistency and on two fronts. One being the fellowship they have with persons attending your church…where a person parks, what sidewalk they usually walk up on, what door they enter the building, who greets them at the usual location with each visit, etc… and the other front having fellowship among themselves as ministry partners. Some of our greatest fellowship (on & off the campus) come from our ministry partners who fellowship together. Right off hand I can think of our Traffic Team. They gather before every service, share prayer requests, pray for one another, get the latest updates on everyone, and just hang together before they ever hit the streets to serve. Not only that but they party together. Every chance they get they party. In fact, you can bet that next weekend they’ll be throwing a Super Bowl party and most everyone on their team will be there. They celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Christmas, and every other event you can think of together. And the great part is…they plan it and pay for it themselves. It is truly the church being the church.

Follow through is something that is not too often discussed when it comes to consistency especially when viewed through the eyes of first impressions, but it is an important distinction to be made. Think with me if you will about someone who attends your church for the first time and as they approach a greeter you hear he/she say, “Good morning, how are you today?” with a reply that comes back something like, “I’m horrible, life sucks, and my wife made me come.” Now, that needs follow through. You just can’t let someone like that walk. If you do, then you just let ministry pass you by. So we must train and equip every person on the front lines of our church campus to be prepared to follow through or at the very least have a plan ready for your ministry partners so they know what to do when it does happen. Believe me, it happens every service, they just don’t tell you it’s happening. Teach your team to stop the person if appropriate, ask them to share more, ask if you can pray with them, ask if they would like to speak with someone about their concerns. Make an effort… it is the reason we are there in the first place, to make a difference in someones life for Christ.

Now, it doesn’t always have to be a comment as I used in the example. It could be a frown, a person who looks distressed, someone who is crying, a noticeable blank look, anything can be a sign of need. I’m a firm believer that we miss quite a bit of ministry on the front lines, because we haven’t taught our ministry partners how to follow through.

That goes for us too, Pastor. We all walk by minister. Just a thought!

2. Relationships

You know as well as I do that most everything hinges on relationships whether it is at work, home, or your “third place”. The same is true when it comes to being consistent with street to the seat. We need relational consistency in our communication to the public and the congregation. Don’t send mixed messages. You know what sending mixed messages in your personal life does for relationships. It does the same with your church. We also need to be consistent in our relationships with our ministry partner teams; phone calls with encouragement, birthday cards, letters, emails, etc… Take the time to build relationships with your ministry partners. Celebrate their ministries with them, through parties for their teams, activities in the community, etc… If you do they will do it too.

What this means is that pastors and church leaders must model relationships. Don’t think they aren’t looking…they are! They are watching us to get their cues. So, if we will model for them building relationship with everyone we see it will become a part of the DNA of your church.

Trust me! I see it work every week. People come up to me weekly telling about someone they met for the first time just by, shaking hands, saying hello, welcoming them to the church even if they’ve been an attender/member for years. Why is this? Because I challenge them to build some type of relationship with everyone they make eye contact with for their first 30 days of ministry as a new member of the church. That may be as simple as saying hello every time you see each other on the campus. It might be, “Now give me your name again. Sorry for forgetting it, but I see you all the time and want to call you by your first name. I just keep forgetting to ask.”

Relationships happen when you make the effort.

3. Retention

You may be asking, “retention”? What’s that all about. What it’s about is making sure that you have the right person in the right place on the “ministry bus”. And nothing more clearly communicates this than a book by a great friend of mine, Pastor Erik Rees entitled, “S.H.A.P.E. Finding & Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life“. Link to Book.

If you want persons to stay in ministry, make sure they are wired to do what you are asking them to do. If so and you care and equip them, they will serve alongside of you for years to come.

More on retention in future blogs. Let me encourage you to get a copy of Pastor Erik’s book. It will change you and your church. He also makes available a Small Group curriculum to go along with the book. Now that is a two run homer if you ask me.

© Kerry R. Mackey, All Rights Reserved

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