How Our Father Lutheran Invites Members into Ministry, part 1
A Commitment to Connecting People
“We have several strong women in charge of member integration.”
That’s how Margaret Hinchey, Minister of Music at Our Father Lutheran Church in Centennial, Colorado, explains volunteerism at their church.
Margaret is good friends with Marlene Wilson (see “Margaret’s Story: A Musician who Loves Volunteers,” part 3 of this story). Marlene is considered by many to have ‘founded’ church volunteer management in the 1980’s. But although Margaret’s congregation does not use “Marlene’s system” of job descriptions and interviews, their member integration practices (outlined in “The Process,” part 2 of this story) are effective in helping people serve in their church.
Jan Burmeister and Elaine Hamburger are the “strong women” – the volunteers who head member integration. They are supported, directed and trained by yet another strong woman, DCE Linda Olsen, who has served on Our Father’s staff over 25 years.
Elaine is the organizer, the recruiter. She looks for “social, outgoing people who have been with the church a while” to be on the member integration team and to help with the team’s responsibilities, including the “party night” that kicks off the series of orientation classes, and also the corsages, punch and donuts for New Member Sunday.
“We’re the first organizational group that people come in contact with,” Elaine notes. “The more we can make them feel comfortable and make them feel at home, the more likely they’ll be to stay and grow in the Christian community. That’s our goal – to have them grow in their spiritual walk.”
Jan is a people-person, specializing in personal contacts. She phones people who have indicated a desire to become members, and she recruits current members to be their sponsors. “I pray a lot when I’m making those matches,” she reports. “Some of them end up being good friends for life.” (Samples available: Sponsor Duties and Sponsor Form)
Margaret describes the goal of the new member program as “each member involved in one meaningful role. It requires a lot of follow-through on our new members.”
In the orientation class, new members focus on stewardship. Each person completes a time and talent form. “We encourage people to get involved on their own,” Margaret notes. “But we put the onus on us and our ministry coordinators to contact people and follow-up on them.”
People who coordinate a ministry at Our Father meet regularly – every other month. At these meetings, the coordinators receive information from the time and talent forms, and the importance of follow-up is stressed.
All members of the church also do a time and talent form as part of the church’s annual stewardship campaign. The information on these forms, too, is given to ministry coordinators for follow-up.
“It’s an expectation that members get involved. It’s part of the full life!”