What’s Holding People Back from Serving?

Many congregations are struggling to engage people in ministry inside and outside the walls of their church. There can be various things holding them back both internally- within themselves- or externally- other people or situations they are or have been encountering.


Internal forces they may be feeling, believing or experiencing

  • I’m not… good enough, smart enough, churchy enough, WELS enough
  • I don’t have any gifts that could help the church
  • I don’t know what my gifts are
  • I don’t know how my passions could connect with God
  • My season of life- I’m too young, too old, too busy
  • I don’t think I’m needed… someone else will do it
  • I felt out of place when I did serve
  • It didn’t meet my expectations
  • I thought what I was doing was unimportant- I didn’t see the kingdom connection
  • I’m just one person. I can’t make a difference.
  • I’ve never done that before. How will I learn how? Is there training?


External Forces brought on by others

  • The leader of the ministry I’m interested in is too…limiting, controlling, uncaring, bossy
  • I volunteered but they said they didn’t need my help
  • My kids and or spouse aren’t connected to church and he, she or they don’t want me to spend time there
  • Attitudes or behaviors of members, leaders or pastors
  • Past negative experience at your church or a previous church
  • I don’t know what my options are for getting involved
  • I don’t know who to talk to
  • I can’t make long term or regular commitments
  • Erratic work / travel schedule
  • There’s no straight path to getting involved


So what’s the solution?


Well, it all starts with relationship. Understanding where people are at requires one on one conversation.  It requires someone to “own” the responsibility for those conversations.  A trained member ministry coordinator can ensure those conversations are happening and help people overcome the hurdles that Satan is putting in front of them.


A member ministry coordinator can also help to establish clear paths to making these conversations happen.  Depending on the size of your congregation you will want to determine how the pathway is created.  Small congregations might have a coordinator schedule one on one conversations with members to identify where there interests are and what stumbling blocks they may need help in overcoming. By offering encouragement with “I see in you” conversations you can open the door to meaningful ways people can put their faith into action through their unique God-given gifts and passions.


Larger congregations might want to offer workshops designed to help members identify their gifts and talents, connect people to their people groups, social issues and needs they like to meet, as well as helping them to see that their life experiences both positive and negative are a means through which God works to prepare them for personal ministry. A follow up one on one conversation helps people move into an area of interest and service.


No matter what size the congregation one thing is for sure. Engaging more people in ministry requires investing in people and connecting them individually to what God has created them to do. Want to learn more? Check out our online free webinars Creating a Member Ministry System in Your Congregation or online Multiply Member Ministry Course.