Workers are your most valuable resource. If they set out taking part in a ministry with great enthusiasm but then burn out through lack of support there may be serious consequences. First, and most important, they may experience short or long term damage to their physical, emotional or spiritual health. Second, you lose an effective and valuable worker. Third, this does not glorify God and is a bad testimony, discouraging others from getting involved.
So how can you support them? Let’s look at two more Key Indicators.
5. Pastoral support
Workers are frequently in the front-line of opposition. They may see and experience much ungodliness, and also be subject to verbal or physical attack. So it is important that they have appropriate oversight, and good pastoral support and encouragement. Sharing the burden of the ministry can restore a distorted view of a situation to a right perspective.
In our church we have a ministry reaching out to women involved in prostitution in the city, City Light. Some have been trafficked from outside the UK while others are involved of their own free will. Befriending this social group may expose team workers to a wide variety of life stories and environments which are very different from their personal experience. It may even involve indirect contact with the criminal underworld.
Following a ‘contact visit’ in such a ministry a safe environment in which people can ‘off-load’ may be vital. Even in less demanding ministries it is important for people to feel well supported and directed, which are fundamental to good management. Planned ‘supervision’ times for all team members provide this confidential space. Such times are about the individual’s personal welfare and should be addressing issues that are pertinent to him or her, not an opportunity for delegating tasks. These support times must be totally confidential and should be a high priority in any team leader’s schedule.
Another way in which workers may be supported and made to feel valued is through the provision of training. This is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that people are equipped in the ‘best practice’ that is known giving them the necessary ‘hands on’ skills. Even a half day or series of evenings being trained in specific skills make a person feel more secure and valued.
Second, training in more peripheral matters leads to greater fulfilment and satisfaction. All members of the team should regularly be given appropriate training. The benefits of broadening an individual’s skill-base will invest in his or her future and will produce increased job satisfaction. The interaction with others outside the normal working environment also provides an enriching experience – or makes the trainees more appreciative of the environment in which they are working! Training Mercy Ministry workers in Mumbai
Training of Trainers (ToTs)
The process of ‘Training Trainers’ is also of great value since this allows preparation and provision to be made for the future multiplication of the ministry. This was Jesus’ style from which we have all benefited. By training up the disciples they were able to reproduce themselves allowing the gospel to be taken to the ends of the earth.
What about volunteers?
Pastoral support and Training are both vital for all team members, not just those who are paid to carry out the ministry. In the church we are privileged to have people who have been touched by the Holy Spirit and often give of their time willingly and sacrificially as they reach out to express the love of Jesus to others. But this ‘volunteer’ status demands special care to ensure they are well supported, and that the demands of an already busy life with family commitments and paid employment do not get neglected or lead to over commitment. Such matters can be addressed through ‘supervision’ times.