The core of every church is its leaders. How do we care for them well while not gathering? Chris Ducas (EastLake Church) gives us some practical ways to keep our core engaged and ready for what’s next.
Neighborhood churches have been a recurring topic in previous Purpose Driven episodes, but for good reason! With trying to figure out how to reopen churches safely, comes a lot of uncertainty. As a result, we’ve seen the growth of neighborhood churches, small gatherings among people who are comfortable with meeting together at home. These small gatherings bridge the gap that people feel between their community and their faith. But these neighborhood churches wouldn’t be what they are today without counseling and leadership guidance. On today’s podcast, we’re hearing from a man known for his stellar team leadership, Eastlake Church executive pastor Chris Ducas.
When leading his teams, Pastor Chris encourages leaders to connect with their volunteers. The key, he says has always been consistent engagement within your communities. When leading in a post-COVID environment, engaging with your teams might look different from what we know. But, it’s still just as, if not more, important to focus on for our people. The main difference is that have to adjust our methods of engagement because we rely heavily on digital tools to connect with each other. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that even when people are reluctant to return in-person, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to re-engage.
So the question is, how do we engage with both types of people? The answer lies in simple ministries. We must provide opportunities to serve both in person and online. This way, we’re able to allow our leaders to feel both comfortable and valuable when serving with the church. Regardless of the ministry, Chris is a strong proponent of grounding his leaders before service. This is the simple act of prayer together before serving, and it’s a staple practice that helps encourage and prepare leaders before service.
Now, as far as measuring engagement, know that it goes far beyond counting attendance or views. Engagement is a 360° involvement in every ministry. It’s vital to the sustainable preservation of healthy teams and leaders. This means that even when we disagree with what people feel, we have to be okay and accept where they are in their journey of understanding what they’re comfortable doing in the age of COVID. To put it simply, Chris says, “You just gotta meet people where they’re at.” As pastors, their first job is to shepherd the flock, not evangelize it. When you’re able to shepherd the flock, you’re building a rapport that you can use to expand your reach. But this doesn’t come easily. We’re all human, and as humans, we all experience different levels of anxieties and fears. It’s unfair to tell people to “get over it” for the sake of doing a job. Leaders must understand how to navigate these concerns and be compassionate with their volunteers. When we do so, we’re reminding people that they’re loved, and that Jesus has a purpose to be worked out in their life.