One of the great benefits to starting something new from something existing is using an established base of people to serve the new initiative. With 801South, we were able to pull from people already involved at Matthews United Methodist Church who felt led to serve in launching this new ministry.
The other side of this benefit is that many of these people have already been well trained in a mindset that plagues established local churches everywhere. During the 10 month season in which we were preparing for the 801South worship launch, much of our time together was spent in illustrating new perspectives of church for this new initiative.
But prior training runs deep.
We very quickly default to previous values, behaviors, and language.
Reproduction is one of the five key values of 801South (which might be why some people confuse us for a fertility service). The main behavioral pattern demonstrating this value is apprenticing. We encourage all of our leaders to be apprenticing others in a one-on-one discipling relationship. This discipling relationship gives servant leaders the opportunity to speak into the lives of others. Of course none of us are perfect, but through the eyes of another it can be easier to see areas where we excel and areas where we need a little work. By relying on Scripture as our guide, we are able to help each other grow our faith together. This concept of recognizing the abilities of others, providing direction and pouring into an individual through a one-on-one relationship gives us the unique opportunity to reproduce ourselves as servant leaders within the church.
Another behavior we encourage as an illustration of reproduction (and relationships) is the concept of “shoulder tapping.” Rather than developing a corporate model for plugging people into an area of service, we simply encourage those currently serving to tap someone on the shoulder and ask if he or she can help out as well. This sounds simple enough, but when we have been well trained to allow only those who are “qualified” through jumping through predetermined hoops to serve, this new behavior can quickly lose its effectiveness.
A word of concern that I sometimes hear while walking around on Sunday morning is, “There’s no one to __________.” The blank can be filled in with greet people as a door host, help people find a seat as a worship host, collect the money during the time of giving, escort new families to the children’s check-in kiosk, etc. Actually, on any given Sunday, there are about 1,500 people to _________ on the campus of Matthews United Methodist Church. So I want to naturally respond with, “Open your eyes!”
Many people assume others don’t serve in the church because they are lazy or they are just takers, rather than givers. Actually, the number one reason why people do not serve in the church is because no one has asked and, therefore, they think everything is well handled. Of course when I point the person out over in the corner who is not serving because no one has asked him and he assumes that someone is taking care of the need, the response is that he has not been part of the process (i.e. trained). So show him how to do it. Then he can ask his friend to help out as well. Reproduction.
When this concept really catches on, reproduction is inevitable. Teams really begin to multiply. The process does take some planning and thought on the front end. We are working hard to be intentional to make sure this planning and thought are in place. Then we will see a new mindset take hold when it comes to plugging others into opportunities to serve.
Who can you ask to come alongside you and serve?
What would it look like for you to have a discipling relationship through which you pour yourself into an apprentice?