Growing a Church by Ministering to Needs | By Todd Lollar
Every church has people with needs. Healthy church growth occurs when pastors train their people to SEE others. Effective outreach starts with availability, intentionality, and presence.
Mobilizing missional living has been my passion for over twenty-five years, and this is the mission of Mobilize Ministries. Churches are training centers where believers learn to embrace the “missional life.” Pastors can help their congregants develop a thriving missional life by incorporating the following key rhythms.
Church members are busy, and it’s easy to forget an important truth: Ministry happens when you slow down.
My missional life began to thrive, not when I was absorbed at school or buried beneath books, but when I spent time with mentors. When I slowed down, I saw the secret of their success: They made themselves available.
Stanley had mentored Max Lucado, and he was my mentor as well. Day in and day out, I watched Stanley share Jesus with people everywhere he went. He’d go to the same gas stations, restaurants, and stores; after time, he began to run into the same people. He learned their stories as he shared the love of Jesus.
He was never in a hurry. He was available. Stanley’s encounters with ordinary people inspired me to follow his example.
Church members need to slow down and make time for others. They also need to learn how to recognize the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The fuel for Stanley’s missional life was Holy Spirit. He listened. He obeyed. He saw the world differently, and he was filled with compassion. We live in a disconnected culture, and most people are unavailable. We can teach our people to interrupt that pattern by making themselves available.
As pastors and church leaders, we must remind our people of a simple truth: “You only have one life, so live your life intentionally.”
It is easy to do a lot of “good things” and miss the “God things.” The Bible calls us to love God and love people. How we do that requires intentionality.
People need to learn to pray, study the Bible, give, and serve, but they must not forget the purpose for all these things: love. Ultimately, Jesus’ love drove Him to the cross. Love propelled Him to a death that freed us from the destructive power of sin. But before He hung on the cross, He embraced a life of intentional love.
Jesus listened and ministered intentionally. He intentionally taught people. He urged his disciples to look beyond themselves and focus on Kingdom love.
Remember Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well in John 4? Consider His intentionality. He asked about her married life. He answered her questions. He used the well to explain the Gospel because He knew that going to the well was part of her daily life:
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water… Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John
Jesus’ intentionality so touched this woman that she ran back to town, proclaiming, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
We must model intentionality and help our people learn how to cultivate intentionality in their own lives.
Do your people know how to be present? What about you?
Being present is harder than it sounds. It requires time and energy. It allows for interruptions and inconveniences. It values commitment and perseverance. When we learn to be present, though, we bless people and see their lives transformed for the glory of God.
My friend Jason knows how to be present. We met when he was a leader in the Student Association at Abilene Christian University. Today, he’s a church leader and partner in a nationally recognized law firm that he co-founded. I’ve noticed over the years that Jason consistently represents Jesus, especially as he leads in his spheres of influence. When I asked him the key to demonstrating excellence, his practical yet profound response was this: “Be present.” In whatever he does, whether working at the firm, relaxing with his family, serving a refugee family, or leading at church, Jason strives to be present.
In a world full of distractions, among people who are so disconnected, it is a gift to exemplify Jesus by being present with them! This is the gift that God gives us: “Emmanuel, God with us.” What a wonderful truth. We can lead the way by being present for our people. We can help them set God-honoring boundaries and priorities. Together, we can be present in a world that wants to know if anyone really cares.
Luke 8:1 is an anchor verse: “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.” In the following verses, we see Jesus how ministered alongside the Twelve. He made room for women who had been freed from spiritual oppression, including “Mary (called Magdalene”) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others” (verses 2-3 NIV).
This passage shows missional living at its best. Jesus was available, intentional, and present — whether He was interacting with the disciples or ministering to hurting people. He taught people and included them in his work. Jesus was not in a hurry. He was fully engaged. And lives were changed.
When we equip people for Kingdom work, we teach them to be present when they meet with people. I encourage you to help your people embrace a life of availability, intentionality, and presence, appreciating where God has planted them and engaging the people in their spheres of influence.
Your church can thrive with missional living. Let’s pursue the Kingdom together!
Learn more about Todd Lollar. Read his YouVersion devotional at https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/33146. To order his book, click here.