It is easy to think of our people either being for us or against us. However, the reality is, most often our people are neither for us or against us—they are neutral. Who they are for, is themselves. When they say, “We had a great service!”, what they’re saying is, “The service ministered to me (or to someone I care about). When they comment that student ministries is doing great, what they means is that their children are happy.
I don’t mention this to be cynical, it is just the way of human nature—we most often look at life from our perspective.
However, as a minister, you have a ministry to perform. One of the most important questions that need to be answered is how do you truly get people on board with you? How do you get them to exert themselves beyond their own interest and buy into you and the ministry that God has assigned you to perform at their church?
The answer to this important question goes something like this:
First, you become predictable.
- You’re not up one Sunday and down the next. You’re not leading them in one direction one week and three weeks later you’ve moved on to something else. Instead, day after day you stay on task and the people can relax, knowing that you will not blow them up or complicate their lives unnecessarily.
Second, you become trustworthy.
- Predictability can be a doubled-edge sword. To predictably fail is not very inspiring. Trust has to be earned, and it is earned by your predictability at keeping your word and following through on what you say you will do.
However, the most important way to get your people to be “for you” is by convincing them that you are “for them”.
- You see, the shoe that fits for your members must also fit for you! The moment your people think that your goal is to “grow the numbers” or get your way or promote yourself, you lose them. They may coast along in neutral (giving you lip service) for a long time, but they will not really be for you. That only occurs when they are first convinced that you are truly, truly for them.
- And that only happens when you reach a place in your walk with God where your people matter more to you than your hopes and dreams and career, and what the church across town is doing, and what your fellow ministers think of you and all the other things that can distract you from why you are at your current assignment
- And that only happens, when you spend enough time with Jesus Christ that He is able to love His people through you.