Within the United Pentecostal Church, we’re facing current questions regarding how to best foster ownership within our ministers. The discussion is broad, and I don’t have many answers, but here are a few things I believe could help…
1. Begin teaching and training for ministry at very young levels, such as Senior and Junior high and younger. This could be done at camps, conventions, definitely the local church. Make concerted effort to engage all of our youth in the purpose of ministry and the process of evangelism. We need to start here, and start now, because if we don’t we will completely lose our next generation. We need to make sure the know the UPCI and understand its value. About 15 years ago (as I can recollect) there began a great shifting away from letting people know we were UPCI… the reasons are many, but mostly to keep from being judged before people even get in the door. Our young men and women today don’t know much about the UPCI. If they don’t, how can we expect them to love it or own it?
2. Begin training the trainers. Start the conversation with our current pastors about the need for recruiting, training up and sending out ministry. When I say “sending out”, I’m not necessarily saying sending them out of our churches, but rather to engage them in meaningful ministry. Now, it should be a given that all pastors want to do this, but could it be there is some fear about actually doing it? Maybe there’s apprehension? Maybe they don’t know how to do it? Maybe they need tools? At any rate, we need to be speaking the need to our pastors… helping them become passionate about recruiting, training and sending.
3. We need to challenge our young ministry. Not just throw them bones, but challenge them to greatness. Give them the encouragement and direction they need, and challenge them. I’m weary of the whining, honestly. I do understand where people are coming from wanting to be recognized and valued, but that comes with accomplishment too. It can’t be blamed on a lax leadership. From what I can tell, the “heroes of the faith” in our current day were the ones who have a story of sacrifice, labor and dying. Though we can help in many areas, we can’t give that experience to people… they need to earn it from God by letting passion catch a wildfire in their hearts and launching out into His will for their lives… even if it means… wait for it… SACRIFICE!