By Judy Urban

Many congregations are struggling to keep existing members and attract new ones. Today’s faith communities are reexamining everything in an effort to more fully engage existing members and draw in potential new members.

The understanding is growing that congregational leaders need to focus more on engaging the gifts and passions of their members in the ministries and mission of the church. In fact, this must be a main focus of all leadership in church work — namely, to equip the people of God for ministry. We, as congregational leaders, affect how ministry gets accomplished by the way we invite volunteers into ministry, by the way we encourage, support, supervise, thank, and celebrate volunteer ministers.

Viewing our leadership positions from this perspective means that everything we do, every decision we make, is geared to answering the questions: “How can I grow the ministry of this church?” “How can I assist the people of this congregation to better carry out their baptismal call to spread the reign of God in the world?” “ How can I say ‘yes’ to the ministry, dreams, passions and gifts of many different people, while at the same time following best practices in leading the ministry work I am responsible for?” This has to be a grounding principle that all staff and lay leadership embrace in order for ministry to flourish.

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