My husband and I got asked by a Pastor the other day how we keep our ministry continually thriving when there is constantly students graduating from college. Good question right? It's common to see a few great years in ministry due to a a group of strong committed Christians and then when they graduate be left with a small group. And though this question was asked in regards to student ministry, the same principles apply to all forms of ministry whether women's ministry or service type ministries.
In order to be a consistently thriving ministry you need 3 essential elements.
1. Continually Meet New People. When Jesus told the disciples to "Go and make disciples of all nations" He actually meant the word Go. Not make things super attractive so they will Come to us. Go-ing involves meeting new people. Where does the demographic of people you're reaching out to spend time? Go there. Spend time being where they are.
2. Start Conversations. When you are meeting people where they are you need to start conversations with them. Normal how are you, what's your name, what do you do types of questions. (Here are some questions to help you get into spiritual conversations- a new ministry resource I created called The Connect Cards. Find out more about it here.) The Reveal Cards is an interactive, engaging tool that will help you start conversations. Check it out.
3. Disciple and Train. When someone decides to trust Christ or if someone is already a believer, you can begin to train them to become a disciple-maker them self. If they are brand new believers you can use resources like the Thrive Bible study to walk through together once a week. And with women who are already strong believers you can also walk through the Thrive Bible study as a way to coach them on how to walk through it with others.
When another believer knows how to live out the Great Commission by sharing the Gospel and discipling someone and training others also (the 2 Tim. 2:2 principle) then this process can be contextualized to any ministry.
If leaders are continually meeting people, starting conversations (and getting to the point of sharing the Gospel) discipling and training others in how to do the Great Commission, you will not be short on leaders. Just as disciples are not born they are made, the same is true with leadership. If you want a continually growing ministry, then continually give yourself to developing and training new leaders.
Here's a video explaining the process.
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks to college and women's groups. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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