The Equipper Newsletter -- November 1, 2007

To unsubscribe, or to subscribe if you received this as a forward, email with "unsubscribe newsletter" or "subscribe newsletter" in the subject line. Published about once a month by Karen Kogler.

A blessed All Saints day to you! May we serve our Lord as saints before us have served.

The main article, below, profiles one church and how it helps its people get involved in ministry. Future such profiles are planned. If you know of a church that helps its people serve, and from whom we can learn, email Karen.

New on The Equipper website: The assessment resource page contains a detailed survey, designed to diagnose strengths and weaknesses of how a congregation helps its people serve. You can download and print the survey (one for current volunteers and one for past volunteers) and instructions.

Thoughts on volunteering

  1. Pope Benedict spoke to a large gathering of volunteers in Austria in September.
  2. On a much lower rung of the hierarchical ladder, here's some recently blogged thoughts by yours truly:

Profile of an Equipping Church:
Cross Lutheran Church, Yorkville, Illinois

Click here for the full profile. The following are some excerpts:

Cross Lutheran equips saints for service by providing many avenues to connect people to serving opportunities, and by emphasizing discipleship-faith in action-rather than membership.

Connecting opportunities are coordinated by: Mary Pat Bretthauer, Director of Connect Ministries;

Her journey: She became a Lutheran 7 years ago and was first hired by Cross as Director of Operations (facilities, etc.). "Three years ago, our church went through the Purpose-Driven Life campaign process, and I began to feel God moving me in this direction [assimilation/connection]." As the pastors worked on the church's overall mission and vision, she was able to gradually move into her current responsibilities. She is currently in the Lay Ministry program of Concordia University Wisconsin.

Classes (one of four): The 6-hour Network classes are offered periodically (the goal is at least twice a year). It used to be a mandatory class but is so no longer. Network materials from Willow Creek are used, with teachings and assessments for spiritual gifts, passion, personal style, etc. Includes a meeting with a 'Network consultant' who makes suggestions regarding ministries that might be a good fit for the individual. The individual is encouraged to try it to see if it 'fits.' They are also encourage to say 'no' when appropriate for their place in life -- over-committed, burned out, or when family needs are paramount.

Mary Pat's comments: "Discipleship is a whole different mindset than membership. Membership brings the idea of entitlement, and that 'I'm done.' We want it to be about discipleship. Discipleship is an ongoing process of learning and growing all the time. Discipleship is faith in action. What used to be New Member Receiving weekend is now called Discipleship Commitment weekend."

"We're trying to get people to understand that it's really about bringing people to Christ. It's not about our comfort level, but our guest's comfort level, and what they need, not about what we like. It's not about us; it's about them and bringing people to Christ."

"In All About Cross, the pastor stresses to the participants that we will be calling them to serve, because we stress faith in action. 'Expect us to contact you,' he says. His planting of that seed makes my role a lot easier. The people are expecting me to call and they're glad I call. It's beginning to help them see that membership is not entitlement. You are here because God has called you here and God has a purpose for you here. He plans to use you. At first, they're like, 'Use me?' And we say, 'Yes, use you! Expect that we will be explore with you how He plans to use you, because you are part of our family now.' That's been an exciting change. Because we have a school here at Cross, often we will have folks wishing to join just for the tuition break. But as we stress 'faith in action' up front, they sit back and think, 'Whoa. I need to be thinking about it. There's going to be an expectation.' It definitely helps, putting it up front."

The complete profile

From Comments of participants: "The process was negative to me in the beginning. Why did I have to go to classes? I was LCMS! I kinda stamped my feet and had a bad attitude. After first class, my attitude changed. I was with other people who were new, who had sought out a church. They had made the effort to be there. I learned alot. Since being at cross, I've learned more than all my years as an adult Christian, both in doctrine and in applying my beliefs to my life."

"I had heard of spiritual gifts; I was born and raised in the church. They weren't new to me but It was a new way of looking at them. Not only did I answer questions about myself. But we asked three people close to us to answer what they thought about certain aspects of our life. Not only did we get our own personal view, but I got feedback from my mom and two brothers and husband. It's hard to be objective about ourselves."

Complete Comments of participants

God has gifted his church to help people serve in a variety of ways. To nominate other churches from whom we can learn, email Karen.

Do you have recruiting stories or resources to share? What has worked for you, either as recruiter or recruitee? If your experience might be helpful to other leaders of volunteers, email God can work through our experiences to help others.

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Published monthly by Karen Kogler
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Churches Equipping Saints for Service
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