Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry - Ephesians 4:12

How to Motivate Your Congregation

Motivating church members to get involved in ministry is often frustrating for pastors and church leaders. God wants all believers to be involved in their local congregation. How can pastors and church leaders motivate members to be more fruitful and productive? Below are a few things that can help.

How to Motivate a Congregation

  1. Preach the Word. 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” Tell church members what God expects and motivate them through the Word.

    God wants His people to be involved and use the gifts He has given them. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” God promises His Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:10-11).

  2. Be positive. When motivating church members always be as positive as you can. Negativism beats people down. Jesus said three times feed My lambs/sheep not beat my sheep (John 21:15-17). This will build them up spiritually, mentally and emotionally for the task God has called them to.
  3. Encourage people. Always be encouraging in your preaching and personal contact. Let them know you believe in them and know they can “do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Encourage them to try different ministries until they find God’s calling. Let them know that finding their function in ministry will bring great fulfillment in their lives.
  4. Start with small tasks. Don’t overwhelm people. Start with small tasks that won’t take long to complete. Long term commitments can be overwhelming. Below are a few examples of entry-level tasks:
    • Teaching. Ask if they can help out in a particular class for two or three weeks. Ask them to teach a specific part of the class then observe the primary teacher the remainder of the time. If they fit and feel comfortable, expand the task by asking them to fill in another week or two. If they appear to be a gifted teacher, continue to move them forward.
    • Evangelism. If you ask people to participate in door-to-door evangelism every week, most will not be interested. If you spend a few weeks promoting evangelism, then challenge them to go out for a few hours, most people will give it a try. If the first outing is successful, repeat the event every six months or so.
  5. Offer incentives. Remind church members that God rewards their service (1 Corinthians 3:9-15, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11). We are saved by grace, but reward is earned. Use your imagination. There are many things you can do to offer incentives that will encourage involvement.
  6. Awards and recognition. Have an award ceremony once or twice a year for workers and ministry leaders. This is a wonderful source of encouragement for their service to the Lord and church. Bringing attention to those who are presently being used of God is also motivation for other people to get involved.
  7. Set attainable goals. Most pastors have an overall vision for what they believe God wants for their ministry. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” However, most people respond better to short-term, smaller goals. They want to see the fruit of their labor. After accomplishing their goals people will be encouraged and excited about the church. Before long you’ll be hearing them say, “What’s the next challenge God has for us?”

Prayer: Father God, I know you want your people to be involved and productive in ministry. Give me the wisdom and imagination to motivate them to be used of you. In Jesus name, Amen!

Starting a new church or ministry is one of the most rewarding things you can do to advance the gospel, but it can also be very challenging. With over 40 years of church planting and ministry experience, Dr. Linton's passion is to encourage, support and equip pastors and church leaders.