Recently I was reminded of a quote from Benjamin Franklin that I have used quite often as a good one in reference to empowering and encouraging ministry through hands-on doing ministry and getting involved. The quote is: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
As leaders of the church, we often forget the importance of involving others in our work. Equipping and empowering takes time and patience. There are times we simply want to get things done quickly and do them ourselves rather than ask others for help. Those in our faith communities bring a variety of gifts together in one place. When we continually do things our own way, we tend to forget to take the time to be patient while others learn. We seem to be stuck in tell me and teach me stages. A major step to growing ministries and building our faith communities is an invitation to actively be involved in ministry.
Although written in the early 90’s, one of my favorite books to reference when working with congregations is The Equipping Pastor by R. Paul Stevens and Phil Collins. It is still relevant today. The book helps us understand congregations as relational systems. From Chapter 8, I list the ten principles for leaders to equip the laity:
It is good to be reminded we are not alone as leaders in our congregations. I invite you to think about your own ministry and reflect on which principles are ones you employ in your setting. What are some empowering ministry stories you could share with others?
Other Suggested Readings
Healthy Congregations, a Systems Approach by Peter L. Steinke
The Leader's Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation by Jim Harrington, Robert Creech, and Trisha L. Taylor
Personality Type and Religious Leadership by Roy M. Oswald and Otto Kroeger
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