Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Benjamin D. Schoun
Douglas R. Kilcher
Involving church members in ministry annually challenges church leaders. To meet this demand within the Seventh-day Adventist church, a committee typically nominates church members to fill prescribed offices—places of need. Filling offices, however, too often causes a committee to overlook some people or to mismatch interests, talents, and tasks.
While serving the Kansas City Central Church as senior pastor, I introduced a Bible-based process to involve members' gifts and talents in ministry. Using trained interviewers in this one-year pilot project, members became involved after matching their talents and interests with tasks. After the church approved the project, I gave three sermons to provide a biblical basis for a gift-oriented ministry. Working from this foundation, I trained ten people to enlist members in service. During two weeks of interviewing volunteers, the ten trainees tentatively matched these church members with particular ministries, then asked a personnel- nominating committee not only to review the lists of ministries and volunteers but also to select people for any unfilled positions. The church approved the list of volunteers. Before discussing the new process of matching members with tasks, I gave a survey to all church volunteers. Nine months after the project was implemented, all volunteers received a second survey. Contrasts between the two surveys revealed the value of the process.
The two surveys showed that when a volunteer could choose his/her place of ministry, there was a greater degree of personal satisfaction, and more time was devoted to ministry than when the nominating process had been used. Some officers, however, disliked the process of matching talents with jobs. If new people assumed positions of influence traditionally held by these former officers, these changes created tension.
My conclusion after this year-long experiment at the Kansas City Central Church suggests three things: (1) that the Bible encourages matching people's interests and abilities with needs; (2) that a ministry based upon voluntary commitment rather than upon assignment invites more members into effective and fulfilling involvement; and (3) that implementing a process of matching gifts, interests, and jobs calls for a church committed to dealing with the kinds of changes and tensions engendered by a gift-based ministry.
Lay ministry--Recruiting; Lay ministry--Seventh-day Adventists
Jerry, Fore, "Enlisting Volunteers in Ministry" (1995). Project Documents. 628.
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