Staff & Laity: Organizing for Mission

From the Open Files of:

NW Synod of Wisconsin Resource Center (715) 833-1153

Contributed by:

Pastor Duane Pederson, First Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, WI

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Staff & Laity: Organizing for Mission

Purpose: To develop a congregational culture that involves the whole people of God in mission and ministry.


  • Clarify Mission
    • "First Lutheran Church . . . a community of faith reaching out in the name of Jesus Christ."
    • Eliminate what doesn't fit; create and strengthen what does fit.
    • Be intentional
  • Helpful Biblical Principles
    • Exodus 18: 13-27 Can't do it alone!
    • Judges 9:7-15 Select leadership wisely
    • Ephesians 4:11-12 there are many gifts for the equipping of the saints
    • 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 variety of gifts, given by the Spirit, for the common good
  • Identify and Build upon Strengths
    • Don't focus upon problems, perceived needs, or complainers
    • Do a few things well, rather than many things mediocre or poorly; prioritize the strengths
    • See strengths as positive opportunities to enhance mission
  • Trust the Spirit
    • Risk failure and be bold in ministry endeavors
    • Brace yourself to be surprised by what God can do!


  • Give Permission
    • Deal with the "gatekeepers": pastor, Council, "certain" individuals or groups (turf/change)
    • Select carefully, equip, and turn loose!
  • Tap into Passions
    • Identify gifts, not by what someone is willing to do, but by what excites and motivates them
    • Attempt to seek volunteers for meaningful, useful activities
  • Short Term Commitments
    • Recognize that many will commit to volunteering if they can see a beginning, middle, and end
    • Use temporary "Task Forces" when possible rather than standing committees
    • Encourage "action oriented" approaches to tasks, not never-ending discussion
  • Identify new Leadership and Expanding the Volunteer Base
    • Time and Talent Surveys - identify passions; develop specialized surveys
    • New Members - integrate in two months; consider interviews rather than T&T paperwork
    • Nominating Committee - Stacking the deck for effective leadership
  • Create New Ministry Opportunities
    • Always keep a "new" ministry initiative in front of the congregation
    • Remember that new opportunities tend to involve new people
    • Allow ministries on "life support" to "die"
  • Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
    • Consider how your congregation affirms, supports, and thanks those who volunteer
    • Develop strategies to make sure there is positive reinforcement when gifts are shared
    • The quiet, subtle "thank you" always leaves a positive impression
    • Celebrate success
  • Pastor's Role
    • Must be committed to "shared ministry" and not to "Lone Ranger"
    • Word and Sacrament (concentrate on the "Big Rocks")
    • Coordinate, Encourage, Recruit, Equip, Get Out of the Way, Thank
  • Funding
    • Sound biblical stewardship (not: shortfall, needs, meet budget, etc.) of faithfully responding to God's goodness and the opportunity to make a difference through the ministry of Christ's church
    • Provide many opportunities for people to give


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