HELP!! I’m Trying to Find Involvement Ministers
For over three years I’ve been looking for involvement ministers (IM). The reason is simple: I want to build a network of IMs who can assist each other and help those entering that ministry.
I do not know of any schools of preaching or colleges/universities that offer classes on this ministry. I am hearing more and more of full time evangelists, missionaries and youth ministers who are transitioning into involvement and yet I don’t know how they go about getting their training. I am also very much aware of the many different approaches to IM and different philosophies of IM.
My method: I have attempted to find IMs in various ways. One is to look at websites of churches of Christ (www.churches-of-christ.org). A more recent method is to call churches that have over 300 members (using the Directory of Churches of Christ in the United States). Churches with fewer members probably can only afford one minister and he is probably a pulpit minister. My focus has been primarily on the SEC states but I have also spoken to congregations in other states. My focus has been on SEC states because the CIC (Church Involvement Conference) is here in Athens, TN and folks from surrounding states attend. Presently, I have contacted churches in three states. I have a long ways to go to talk to 120 congregations.
What I’ve Learned So Far: I’ve talked with one female IM and a total of about nine IMs. IMs go by different names: IMs, Discipleship Minister, Family Life Minister, Spiritual Growth Minister, Connections Minister, etc. Some of these folks have transitioned out of another ministry (usually youth) and have differing job descriptions. Some of these have so many items in their job descriptions I wonder how they have time to get anyone involved in anything. Some have only 50% participation of their membership. One congregation could not locate an IM so the eight elders are the IMs. I kind of like that.
What I ask: I ask questions about their training, books they’ve recently read, if they write articles for the church bulletin, how they go about getting folks involved, what percentage of their members are involved in ministry, and if they know certain folks that I know. I also ask them if they know of something (like a conference, workshop or lectureship) designed specifically for IMs. So far, there are none other than our CIC which meets every January.
I make some offers: I encourage them to check out my website, to attend CIC, to submit articles for my website, and offer coaching and consulting. Some of these folks have travelled to Athens and we’ve spent a day or more together. That offer is open to any congregation or transitioning ministers.
What YOU can do: if you are reading this and you are an IM or know of any IMs, would you please contact me and introduce yourself or those you know who are IMs? That would save me lots of time for sure. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I will update this article from time to time so please keep an eye on it. Trav