When we are trying to minister to others, there is always more that needs to be done. Whether we are on the staff at a congregation, or a member just trying to help others to heaven, there always seems to be more people to reach than we have time to devote.
So…too often, we do nothing.
Instead of trying to reach people, we often make up excuses, fill up our time with other things, and do not reach out to anyone.
With that in mind, I am trying something personally that I think might encourage you. I call it “5×5 Ministry.” It’s not a new idea, but it is something I am just starting to try, and so far I really like the way it helps me stay a bit more organized in the “ministry” part of, well, ministry.
What is “5×5 Ministry”? I’m glad you asked.
5×5 Ministry is simply this: there are 5 things I want to try to do 5 times each week.
Here are the areas:
- Five Visits. These can be in home, in a nursing home or hospital, or I also include having people over to our house. Basically, this is a way to track face-to-face interaction. Also, personal Bible studies would be under this heading (and I hope it is at least one each week!).
- Five Cards/Letters. Personally, I am terrible that this, and this is the catalyst for “5×5.” I am trying to send cards or letters to people I see do something well, but not something that often gets credit. You may choose to send cards to the sick or shut-in, or anyone else who just needs some encouragement.
- Five Phone Calls. For me, these are most often to check on the sick, but you may have a different group of people in mind. Maybe it is inviting others to worship.
- Five Emails. I try to email 5 people each week with just a note of encouragement of some type. Sometimes, these are invitations to worship, as well, but usually they are more just a quick pick-me-up, or a quick “just checking in” type note.
- Five “Other Messages.” I include text messages or private Facebook messages here. Each week, I utilize these technologies to invite people to worship, especially late in the week (Friday/Saturday).
Here is what I’m using to keep track each week (click on the image do download a pdf card for your own use):
At least one of these areas (maybe making visits) probably causes you to cringe, while another (maybe phone calls) just comes naturally for you. Personally, sending cards or letters is my hardest one. I am not a letter writer, but this helps me track my effort in that area of ministry, and trying to do just five each week is not too much to ask.
You may not have time to do all of these each week, but could you pick just 3 or 4 areas? Or, could you do all five, but just try for three of each?
Think about if an entire Bible class tried to just have a “3 x 5 Ministry.” How many people would be encouraged weekly? If your Bible class has 12 people, that would be a total of 180 contacts made each week, by just one Bible class.
What if an eldership did something like a “5×3 Ministry.” If you have 4 elders, that would total sixty points of contact…every week by the elders!
Maybe your family could try a version of this ministry. Your kids might want to try a “2×5” or a “3×3.” Whatever you choose, this is a simple way to keep track of your effort.
In reality, “5×5” is not about 25 personal points of contact each week. It is just something I am trying to help me keep up with how well I am really reaching out to others, and in various ways. Some weeks, I won’t get to 25. Some weeks I might make 10 visits, but only send 2 emails. It’s not about being perfect with “the grid,” it’s about reaching people.
I just pray this encourages us all to do that.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn
Photo background credit: losmininos on Creative Commons