The Equipper Newsletter
March 1, 2008
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

 Volunteer Ministry Entrepreneurs
by Karen Kogler
In a recent article, Rich Kirkpatrick relates an incident that occurred while he was at a conference at Saddleback, Pastor Rick Warren’s mega-church in southern California. At a nearby coffee shop they met an employee who was a Saddleback member. She was eager to talk about her church, but she didn’t mention their celebrity pastor. She talked about how she was able to start a ministry to single moms.

Entrepreneurs are people who start new business ventures, often with considerable risk. But they exist also in the church. The book of Acts is full of Spirit-led entrepreneurs. Paul and Peter are the primary entrepreneurs, but there are others, such as those in 8:4, people fleeing persecution in Jerusalem, who “preached the word wherever they went,” and the “men from Cyprus and Cyrene” in 11:20 who “began to speak to Greeks also” in Antioch, founding the church there.

Are there entrepreneurs in the church today? Most churches--congregations and denominations--have a long institutional history and are, for good reasons, adverse to change and risk. They are also by nature ‘top-down’ organizations, a structure which tends to discourage individual entrepreneurship. Could we also at times unintentionally discourage individuals moved by the Holy Spirit to open new avenues of ministry for sharing the Gospel? (continued)
See also the discussion/activity worksheet "Growing Volunteer Ministry Entrepreneurs" on this website page, immediately after the listing of articles.
 Governance and Volunteerism at Three Churches
 by Karen Kogler  
Our thanks to three churches of the Northern Illinois District LCMS who agreed to share their experience of the connection between volunteerism and governance change, as a follow-up to the article "Governance Change . . . Volunteerism Change?" which appeared in the December issue of this newsletter. --KK
1.  A Healthy Church can Hide the Need
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Palatine, Illinois

Prince of Peace Lutheran in Palatine is early in the process of governance change. Pastor Scott Christenson relates that when people express concern that the governance change will make it harder to fill volunteer positions, “I respond, ‘You don’t get rid of volunteers. You get rid of forcing people into roles that don’t fit in.’”

He sees need for improving volunteerism alongside governance change. “We’re a fairly healthy congregation,” he says, and their ministries involve many volunteers.But he sees room for growth. “Most people [in the church] don’t see that we’re not involving a good percentage of our members. There are lots of people involved, but we’ve done a poor job of assimilating the last four new member classes.”

They are addressing these issues. A team is looking at the whole assimilation/recruitment process, one of five goals that resulted from recent strategic planning. This summer, as part of the transition to the new governance structure, “we will put an assimilation goal before the people,” he says, showing his desire to measure what matters.

2. Outreach Attitude and Mission Fuel Volunteerism
Immanuel Lutheran, Batavia, Illinois

Growth is characteristic of the far west Chicago suburbs in which Immanuel, Batavia, is located, and growth is characteristic of their congregation. The growth from about 230 average worship attendance 11 years ago to about 630 now is a major reason they are in the process of changing their governance model.

“We’re a unique congregation,” says Pastor Ron Weidler.  “Our people have a mindset focused on growth and outreach and mission.” They are currently involved in church-planting efforts. The mission mindset energizes their volunteers. He frequently hears members say, “We really need to do this and I’ll be part of a team to get it going.”

Nearly four years ago they changed their “long and theological” mission statement to “Igniting Lives for Christ—N.O.W.” The last three letters stand for nurture, outreach and worship, the tools they use to ignite lives for Christ. And the ILC initials of Igniting Lives for Christ also are the initials of their church name. 
As governance is discussed, member Elvin Harms hears some practical questions. “We're beginning to hear those concerns about what will people do when boards and committees are re-tooled; who will determine and maintain budgets; who will recruit volunteers, etc.” They’re wondering “how vital is a staff person dedicated to volunteers vs. an existing staff person who makes recruitment one of their many tasks vs. a lay volunteer.” He’s looking at resources to help answer those questions to further fuel their mission.

3. Change in the Midst of Change
St. Pauls Lutheran Church, Aurora, Illinois

St. Pauls, Aurora, completed their governance change several years ago in the midst of greater change—leaving their original location in downtown Aurora and moving to a suburban location which had been their second campus for a number of years. The move allowed them to birth a new Hispanic congregation, San Pablo Lutheran, in the downtown location. But it still was a difficult move for many long-time volunteers at St. Paul.

About a year ago, another change occurred when long-time Pastor Jock Ficken accepted a call elsewhere. Interim senior pastor Charles Mueller, Sr. “has done a tremendous job” ministering to people who were stressed by all the changes," says secretary Judy Andrews-Manning. In her ministry, she has seen volunteerism affected by various changes, of which the governance change may have been one of the the least.

See also the article "Governance Change . . . Volunteerism Change?" and the free PowerPoint presentation, "Church Governance Change . . . Volunteerism Change?"

 Resources for Women Volunteers in Leadership
Help the women in your church grow in leadership. Check out the Women's Leadership Institute at Concordia University Wisconsin and these opportunities/resources:
  1. "Sharing the Love of Jesus: How-to's of Christian Leadership," a leadership conference for women, April 4-6, 2008, in Milwaukee. Registration is $155 (but you save $20 if you register by 3-3). More info. I'll be there leading a one-hour session on recruiting and retaining volunteers.
  2. "Heart and Soul: Called to Leadership," another women's leadership conference, June 27-29 at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon. More info.
  3. Watch the WLI website for the Winter 2008 e-letter. (It is scheduled to be posted soon.) The lead article, "Seize Your 'Esther Moments' for Such a Time as This,"  makes a nice devotion for encouraging women volunteers!  
 Also Worth Noting
  1.  "They're People, not Tools," an article on the Volunteer Central website; recommended by Mary Pat Bretthauer.
  2. "Chariots of Fire," a posting on John Stanko's blog regarding the move of the same name, also makes a good devotional material, especially when paired with a reading from 1 Corinthians 12.
  3. Recent postings on my blog: "Volunteers are watching;"  "The Logo;" "Vacation;" and "Senior-itis." 
In this issue:


The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources