As churches take different shapes- from rural country churches, to vibrant urban churches, to suburban megachurches- their ministries can be just as varied. There are scores of different types of church ministries, and sometimes you can find dozens of them offered at a single church.
But when we boil it down to the bare necessities, there are a handful of ministries churches need to be good at.
Which 5 ministries does my church need?
#1. Guest Services.
Your church can have dynamic preaching, amazing music, and cutting-edge technology- but if guests don’t feel welcome, your church will never grow. First impressions are powerful, and a good guest services ministry will harness that power to make an impact on seekers who visit you.
Loneliness is an epidemic in America. More than one-third of Americans say they feel “serious loneliness.” Among young adults, 61% feel serious loneliness. People crave meaningful contact with others. They are desperate for real relationships, for a community.
The body of Christ can fill this need. It’s crucial that every visitor who steps through your door feels loved, welcomed, and cared for.
Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor and walk yourself through their encounter at your church. Is parking easy? Is it obvious where they should go first? If they have questions, how can they tell who will help them? Most importantly: are they greeted with a smile? Do they feel welcome?
Of the ministries that grow your church, guest services is the most critical. Make certain that guests are a priority, and that your church is a warm and welcoming place.
Even a world-class guest services ministry will only get you so far. You need to be welcoming people into something worthwhile—and nothing is more worthwhile than the Good News. As the Apostle Paul writes, “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16)
If people don’t hear the gospel of Jesus Christ when they come to your church, then all of your other ministries are in vain. From the pulpit to the Sunday School classrooms, your congregation must be taught to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ. Scripturally grounded preaching and teaching are absolutely essential ministries in every church.
If your preaching ministry could use some improvement, have church leadership consider investing in your pastor (or pastors) by sending them to workshops or paying for preaching classes to help them hone their communication skills. But whatever it takes, be sure that the gospel is effectively taught at your church. Your community can get self-improvement advice from plenty of other places. They need their local church to show them the only One who can give them living water.
#3. International Outreach.
It’s far too easy for us to become self-focused in America today. International outreach reminds us that we have brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. It reminds us that so many in the world haven’t even heard the good news of Jesus yet. It reminds us how very blessed we are, and gives us an opportunity to be good stewards of those blessings. Most importantly, with international outreach, we obey the Great Commission.
International outreach may seem daunting, especially for smaller churches. But it doesn’t have to be. Children’s HopeChest can be your Missions Department, giving your church an immediate international outreach ministry without creating a ton of work for pastors and church leaders. Choosing Children’s HopeChest is a dynamic way to partner with an overseas community, build relationships with real people there, and be part of a sustainable plan to help them thrive.
You have the opportunity to ignite hope in the world! Your church can empower children internationally and create long-term sustainability in their community in the name of Jesus. Contact Children’s HopeChest to learn more about how you can plug and play international Outreach.
#4. Children’s Ministry.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” (Matt. 18:5) Scripture makes clear to us Jesus’ attitude toward children. “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matt. 19:14)
Jesus loves little children and honors them. Our churches need to follow His example.
You don’t need expensive curricula or fancy supplies. You just need some faithful volunteers who love Jesus and love children, and want to teach the kids about God and the Bible in age-appropriate ways. If children in your church feel loved, they will want to come, and they’ll want to learn more about God.
It’s important to parents that their church welcomes their children, and that their kids feel safe and cared for at Sunday School. Make sure your church treats children the way Jesus did!
#5. Praise and Worship.
The Bible is filled to overflowing with exhortations to worship our God. God clearly desires and requires our praise. King David sets an example for us: “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:1-2)
Whether your church uses a pipe organ and traditional hymns or electric guitars and the newest contemporary songs, you must have some sort of worship ministry. Worshiping God refocuses our attention onto Him and away from ourselves. Corporate worship reminds us that we are part of the body of Christ. And worshiping God is acting in accordance with Scripture. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Heb. 13:15)
No matter the size of your church or where you meet, these five ministries are not only possible but essential. Other ministries can certainly be helpful and positive, but avoid the temptation to branch out to others until you have made sure these five are thriving. With them, you’ll have a healthy and effective church!