We can always do more to reach the next generation together than we ever can alone. We are more effective leaders, and the ministries we lead are healthier when we do ministry as a team. Church work is different than any other work. How? Simply, we’re not creating products or selling services. Ministry is about people. It’s not really about programs, events or curriculum. It is all about relationships; with God and others. The most effective way to build a ministry team is to start with relationships.

Since the starting line is relationships, here are the first few stages to work through in building your ministry team.

1. Prayer. Jesus told us to start with prayer.

Jesus told us to: Ask the Lord of the harvest… I often find myself praying this simple prayer. “Lord, open my eyes to see those around me that are to be on my ministry team.”

2. Recruitment. Don’t underestimate the power of the Ask.

My ask never begins with, will you lead this ministry or will your teach this class? Rather it normally starts with me sharing my vision passionately and then asking them to pray about helping with the cause by joining our ministry team. I’ve learned that people seldom refuse to pray and once they begin to pray about the harvest, God can get ahold of their heart.

In recruitment, character must always trump abilities and availability. You can teach skills, but you can’t change a person’s character. Remember, it’s always easier to hire a volunteer, than it is to fire a volunteer. When necessary, deal with difficult people immediately.

3. Structure and Systems. These help people join the team and stay on the team.

Structure is the strategy in place to integrate new teammates into the team. This structure could include the following:

• Application process

• Background check

• Interview

• Spiritual Gifts test

• Trial period

Systems are the strategies in place that empower teammates to deeper levels of ministry responsibility. It’s always best to release ministry slowly and intentionally. Jesus modeled the perfect system with the first 12 disciples. You might remember that it looked something like this:

I do, you watch

I do, you help

You do, I help

You do, I pray on your behalf

Working through these three stages will get you started on the right path to building your ministry team. In my next blog post I will continue on this topic and give you three more stages.