Nuts & Bolts Ministries: Issues in Serving

Issues in Serving

People involved in what we are calling Nuts and Bolts Ministries, such as clerical, communications, facilities and ground maintenance, hospitality, staff-support, technical services, and more, tend to do a lot of the work that helps hold church life together. Due to the nature of these kinds of ministries, they can potentially face some issues that must be kept in perspective.

Issues Faced by People Serving in Nuts & Bolts Ministries:

These ministries are usually accomplished behind-the-scenes, as opposed to upfront, and are efforts members of the Body sometimes don't think about getting done but would miss them, and even complain, if they weren't done or weren't done effectively. Often the people doing these tasks aren't acknowledged. Others might not even know who is accomplishing them.
These ministries tend to be more task-oriented and so the focus and expectations can easily turn to the need to produce quantity and/or quality work. There's so much to do, sometimes with deadlines. While the actual work might be done behind the scenes, the end result ... such as the church bulletin, web site, landscaping, lighting and sound, etc. ... is seen by many.

What's Important for People Serving in Nuts & Bolts Ministries to Remember:

With the issues described above in mind, people involved in Nuts and Bolts types of ministries, need to maintain perspective.
Following are some questions to ask to help you remember what is most important:

  1. What are the non-negotiables?
    The non-negotiables must always take precedence. Put simply: The message we have to share is a non-negotiable. The means we use to communicate it are negotiable. The tools used to communicate might change, but the message does not.
    Remember: The Message is most important.
  • Let's be careful we don't minimize or compromise the message in order to do what "looks" best or "works" best in a given situation.
  • Let's not hold on to "our" way of doing ministry as though it is the infallible, authoritative Word.
  1. What is the reason to make what you do attractive and of high quality?
    The Apostle Paul said, "I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some" (1 Cor. 9:22). He tried to make his ministry appealing to others in order to make an impact on their lives, not so they would have a good impression of him. He wasn't worried about appearances or his reputation. Rather, he viewed adapting to what appealed to others as leading to a greater end. It wasn't just about impressing others to give them a "WOW" moment.
    Remember: Impacting ministry is most important.
  • Let's not get caught up in appearances for appearances sake.
  • Let's always have reasons for why we do what we do, particularly that it leads to a higher end.

To Read:

  1. Who's glory are you really after?
    We are to do all we do for the glory of God and honoring to the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17). When excellence, however, turns into perfectionism, whose glory are we really seeking?
    Remember: God's glory is most important.
  • Let's not obsess on getting it just right that we miss the big picture.
  • Let's keep a check on our motivations and not let personal pride drive us.

To Read:

  1. At what cost should you get your work done?
    God is as concerned with the process as He is with the end result. Who we our matters more to Him than what we do (1 Sam. 16:7). How we treat others matters more than great accomplishments (1 Cor. 13:1-3). Getting consumed with completion of a task should never come at a cost of integrity and relationships.
    Remember: People are most important.
  • Let's not manipulate or walk on people to accomplish our agendas.
  • Let's not neglect relationships with others in order to get our work done to our standard.

To Read:

  1. Who are you really trying to please?
    When we need the applause of others to feel good about ourselves, ministry becomes more about people-pleasing than pleasing God. Looking for the approval of others can get our eyes off of the Lord and what He wants us to do. It can bring disillusionment and discouragement into ministry when the affirmation we crave doesn't come our way, affecting our attitudes and possibly tainting our work.
    Remember: God is the One we seek to please, not to earn merit from Him, but simply because we love Him and are filled with gratitude.
  • Let's find our significance in God, not in how others feel about us.
  • Let's learn the difference between respecting and honoring people we work for or with and depending on their approval and affirmation for a sense of worth.
  • Let's purpose to do what we do because we love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt. 22:37).

Following are some targeted questions:

- Clerical / Office Ministry:

Is your attention to details to glorify God (excellence) or to satisfy your own standards (perfectionism)?

- Communications Ministry:

Is the message of what you are producing or designing more important than the production itself?

- Facilities & Grounds Maintenance Ministry:

Are you looking at the big picture, that the church is more than a building and that the building is merely a tool to help the church function?

- Hospitality Ministry:

Is ministering to people more important than making a good impression on them?

- Staff Support Ministry:

Are you trying to please God first and foremost or people?

- Technical Services:

Is protecting the equipment at all costs worth destroying relationships?

- Other Service-Oriented Ministry (ushers, library, transportation, etc.):

Are you content to simply be a servant ready to assist as the need arises?

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