© March 26, 2018 | Schulter Etyang
I believe that the recruiting methods and programs that the Church has employed over the past many years have hurt us. By the Church, I’m talking about the Pentecostal-Charismatic tribe of which I’m a part of. There is a real sense that we have been doing a poor job at recruiting members and leaders because of the methods that we have used
Let me give you a few examples of our recruiting methods. I know at least two very common methods that we use.
- Draw up a compelling vision statement for the kingdom and then recruit people to help you accomplish the vision. Then, someone’s level of involvement will determine their level of ascendancy or reward. Your level of involvement might mean when you tithe, attend prayer meetings, serve in the children’s Church, lead a youth group, lead a small group at your home etc. Usually, Habakkuk 2:2 is the point verse for this type of recruitment method.
- Join us and then sign up for certain programs (membership classes, Bible school or school of ministry, Bible studies etc) that will help us know you and assimilate you into our Church. If you complete these programs, then we will consider your membership and/or leadership application.
The results of these methods? My generation has been put off by this kind of organized religion that feels and sounds like a multi-level marketing scheme and have embraced an ambiguous spirituality – where anything goes. They don’t want anything to do with structure, order, and discipline which are vital clogs in the Church. Secondly, overcommitted and overzealous members are suffering spiritual, physical, emotional and even financial meltdown.
I observe that if these methods of recruiting members and leaders continue (which they may), we will lose many young people or not attract them at all.
This is not Jesus’ modus operandi
As usual, Jesus points us to a much more effective way of recruiting members and developing leaders. His method is simple and direct. How did Jesus recruit his members?
- He simply met their needs
His first disciples were struggling business people. He blessed their business and they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11)
Peter’s mother in law was sick with a fever. Jesus healed her and then she served them. (Matthew 8:14-15, Luke 4:38-39)
One of the women who ministered to Jesus was Mary Magdalene who was delivered from seven demons. (Luke 8:2-3)
A man possessed with demons got delivered and wanted to follow Jesus. (Mark 5:1-20)
Notice the sequence? In all these cases, a need was met, and then the response – a willingness to follow or serve.
He simply met their needs
Objections definitely arise. Oh Schulter, if people just follow Jesus because of what he has done to them, then we are encouraging a consumer type mindset that is already prevalent in our generation. My answer. Yes, you are absolutely correct. Yet, Jesus uses the same consumer mindset to captivate us with his beauty.
Our generation hears this a gazillion times, “If you follow Jesus, he will fulfil your dreams and desires. If you take care of his business, he will take care of your business. If you serve him well, he will reward. If you tithe consistently, you will be blessed. Much like how the world operates. The world operates out of this principle – you rub my back, I rub your back. You do me, I do you.
Jesus offers us much more. He first rubs your back. He is in for you to win it, first. He doesn’t ask anything in return from you. He just gives to you. Unless we preach, teach and model a Jesus that constantly gives and gives, we will not be able to recruit members and develop leaders.
Remember this, we live in a world that demands from us. Our relationships, jobs, businesses, governments, etc demand from us. They take from us. Only Jesus operates from this notion, “I came to serve, I came to bless, Take from me.” Christianity is the only religion whose God came to serve.
Christianity is the only religion whose God came to serve.
The saying is true, you can’t lead anyone where you haven’t been yourself.” Serving is a response to being served. Effective servants are ones that have been served by Jesus. We then serve God, effectively, when we are the most satisfied with the service we have received from God. In his book Movies are Prayers: How films voice our deepest longings, Josh Larsen writes, serving God is a common response for those who, after confession and forgiveness, express their gratitude by offering their obedience.
In his book Movies are Prayers: How films voice our deepest longings, Josh Larsen writes, serving God is a common response for those who, after confession and forgiveness, express their gratitude by offering their obedience.
Before we recruit any more people into our ministries and churches, we should first ask ourselves whether we have revealed a God that is so willing to serve us that he died for us. A God that washes feet. A God that heals. A God that feeds the hungry. A God that clothes the naked. The result? Hearts and pockets (generosity) will open.
In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy spoke these famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Jesus reverses this and says, “Ask not what you can do for me, ask what I can do for you.” It is not at all unreasonable to ask Jesus, what have you done for me lately? He is so eager to meet your need because he has a long view of things. He knows when your heart is dazzled and enchanted by his grace, your response will be, “ok, let’s go. Ask me anything. I will do anything for you.”
That’s what grace looks like