Today, as I wrap up this series of posts, I will discuss the “G” in C.L.O.S.I.N.G. the Back Door. The “G” stands for Give Them A Place to Serve. See the links at the end of this post for the entire series. The series is designed to help churches with assimilating newcomers and new members into the life of the church.
Gerald Sharon, formerly a Kentucky pastor, now serves as the Executive Pastor of Saddleback Church. Recently, while speaking in Kentucky, Sharon said that one of the questions potential church members ask is “Am I needed here?” In others words, is there a place for me to serve?
I believe that new members should be given a place to serve shortly after they become members. Typically, the church has lots of introductory ministries. Make no mistake, introductory does not mean the ministries are unimportant, it simply means that people can become involved in the ministries regardless of their level of spiritual maturity or time at the church. For example, you don’t have to be a long-standing member or be able to quote the Book of Leviticus to serve coffee or to usher someone to their seat.
One great way to plug people into a ministry of this type is during the Membership Class. The pastor can discuss the ministry opportunities and encourage everyone to start with a ministry of this type. He can tell the class members they can try several different types of these ministries as they’re getting started. He can distribute ministry pamphlets during one of the early class sessions and have members serve as ministry guides on the last night of the Membership Class to answer questions and to sign-up volunteers.
The pastor can explain that a person can try several different introductory minstries until he finds one he wants to stick with for a while. The pastor can explain that he can move to a different type of ministry altogether once he is with the church for a while.
Some churches wait for months or years before involving new members in any of the ministries of the church. This approach misses out on the excitement that only newcomers bring and ignores one of the best assimilation tools available to the church.
For more details about CLOSING the Back Door see the entire series: