I was reading a local news story this morning and the correlation to ministry was overwhelming. The story talks about a local volunteer fire company that has had volunteers baking pies as a fundraiser for about the last 50 years and next month, this tradition will end. Why is the tradition ending? Simply because no one else has come in to learn and continue the tradition. The same men have been doing it for years and they are simply getting to the point where they are unable to continue it.
In the four and a half years that I’ve lived in the area, I have seen the signs outside the fire house for the pies, but I never stopped to inquire or purchase one. I say that to share that I don’t know why this tradition is coming to an end – other than what is in the story, but it got me thinking about ministry and why ministries sometimes end when people end their time serving.
We need to make sure that our ministry is making disciples and is open to others coming in to serve. If you have a tight knit group of leaders (as it seems these men at the firehouse were), then it can be very difficult for someone to come into the group and not feel like an outsider. Your ministry needs to be welcoming to others coming in to serve.
We also need to look at the schedule. When is the ministry, or activity, taking place. Is the time it is being held conducive to others being a part, or is it designed to fit the schedule of only those involved? With the firehouse, I’m not sure younger men could make the time to be there to learn and continue it in the time slot (the day and time, etc) it was being held. That may have limited its growth and continuity.
Keep your ministry welcoming for others to be a part of it and learn. Make disciples, not only of the children in your ministry, but also of the leaders, working to replace yourself so the ministry continues after you’ve moved on.