How to Motivate Your Congregation
Motivating a congregation to get involved in church ministry is often frustrating for pastors and church leaders. Typically, only 20 percent of church members carry 100 percent of the responsibility. God wants all believers to be fruitful and involved in their local congregation (John 15:1-8). How can pastors and church leaders motivate their members to be more involved and productive? Here few things that may help.
Preach the Word. The bible says, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” ( 2 Timothy 4:2). Tell them what God expects and motivate them through the Word. God expects His people to be involved and use the gifts He has given them. “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). God promises His Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:10-11). It’s the responsibility of the fivefold ministry to equip and motivate our people (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Be positive. When motivating church members always be as positive as you can. Negativism beats people down. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 15:16), not beat my sheep. This will build them up spiritually, mentally and emotionally for the task God has gifted and called them to.
Encourage people. Always be encouraging both in your preaching and personal contact. Let them know you believe in them and know they can “do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Encourage them to try different ministries and areas of involvement until they find God’s calling. Challenge them that once they find their function in ministry, it will bring the greatest fulfillment in life they could ever imagine.
Start with small tasks. Don’t overwhelm people. Start with small tasks in areas that won’t take long to complete. Long term commitments can be overwhelming. Below are a few examples of entry-level tasks:
- Let them teach a class. Ask if can help out in a particular class for only two or three weeks. Only request they do a specific portion of the class then observe the primary teacher the remainder of the time. If they fit and feel comfortable, expand the task by asking them to fill in another week or two. If they appear to be a gifted teacher, continue to move them forward.
- Evangelism. Want to motivate your members toward door-to-door evangelism? If you ask them to go out every week, most people will not be interested. If, however, you spend a few weeks promoting evangelism then end with challenging them to go out for only a few hours, most people will give it a try. If the first outing is successful, repeat the event every six months or so.
- Incentives. Remind your church members that God rewards their service for Him (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10-11). We are saved by grace, but reward is earned. Use your imagination. There are many things you can do to offer incentives that will encourage involvement.
Awards and recognition. Have an award ceremony once or twice a year for workers and ministry leaders. This is a wonderful source of encouragement for their service to the Lord and their local church. Bringing attention to those who are presently being used of God is also motivation for those sitting on the sidelines to get involved.
Set attainable goals. As Pastors, we often have an overall vision for what we believe God wants for our ministry. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). However, people typically respond better to short-term, smaller increments of vision. They need to be able to see the fruit of their labor.
A pastor or church leader’s greatest challenge is to break down visions (goals) into smaller segments. Present projects and short term goals you know are attainable. Not only will your people be encouraged, they will be excited and fired up about ministry. Before long, you’ll be hearing them say, “What’s the next challenge God has for us?”
Prayer: Father God, I know you want your people to be involved and productive in ministry. Give me the wisdom and imagination to motivate them to be used of you and bear much fruit. In Jesus name, Amen!