7 Under-Recognized Ministries in the Church

7 Under-Recognized Ministries in the Church

In 2019, my husband and I launched a church in the D.C. metropolitan area called Enlighten Church. With a goal to be light to the community, we realized quickly that there were many steps involved to make it happen. Although we had helped in church plants previously, we knew that starting a new church would require many helping hands. As we set forth to create a team of people to help us launch the church, we realized that there were many areas of the church that often we had not previously considered. 

Now, as we come into our third year as church planters, we realize more and more that modern churches are much more than providing a stellar message and worship experience. In addition, there are many working pieces that help the church body to be a welcoming environment for first-time guests and regular attendees. And, as much as we would love for the Bible to be the only aspect that matters to churchgoers, the reality is that many enter the church seeking a seamless experience from greeting to children’s ministry and more. Simply put, it takes many people to serve for a church to run smoothly.

I believe we can see this concept biblically as Paul writes to the Roman Church:

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:4-5

Yet, there are many ministries that tend to go unnoticed by churchgoers. These ministries tend to get lost in the shuffle. Although we all enjoy the benefits of these ministries, few are willing to help or see the significance of how they impact the overall worship experience for the church congregants. I want to take some time to break down these critical ministries and what they mean to the church:

Photo Credit: ©RNS/Bob Smietana

  • 1. Children's Ministry

    The hardest area to get volunteers at most churches is the children’s ministry. For many parents, Sunday morning is an opportunity to drop off their children and have a moment of peace. I, too, have been guilty of only considering my own desires as it pertains to children’s ministry. Yet, in many churches, children’s ministry programs are often running as a smaller church service. From having their own worship, to sermon series, and needing a complete volunteer roster, much work goes into running a successful children’s ministry. 

    But that's not all! Messages have to be catered in a way that reaches a specific age range. Much like Jesus spoke in parables so that his listeners could understand, children’s leaders have to be creative enough to find a balance between teaching biblical truth and having an element of fun. For large churches, there may need to be four to five different lessons prepared, along with room for the crafts, music, and snacks. 

    Before long, those who lead children’s ministry will find themselves burnt out as they have little help with very high demands. This is not including any behavioral issues or the expectations the pastoral team may place on them. As we are considering where to serve in our local church, let’s not turn away from the children’s ministry due to selfish reasons but see it as an opportunity to share the Word with our youngest generations. Remember, Jesus had a heart for children and seeing them come to Him:

    "People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mark 10:13-14

  • A microphone, pastor makes it to the finale of The Voice

    2. Media Production Ministry 

    Most people pay little attention to the area of media production until things go wrong. When the sound is too loud, microphones start to squeak, or the pastor’s slides aren’t showing on the screen, everyone tends to turn their heads to the media team. Few, however, realize how much time goes into these aspects before the service ever starts. Most churches need their media production team to arrive two hours before the service starts to troubleshoot sound issues or lighting issues that may arise. One cord misplacement or becoming accidentally unplugged could affect the entire service. 

    Although this may appear to be a worldly need to have the sound and lights correct, the failure to do so can be a distraction for those attending the service. Imagine worshipping and the lead singer’s microphone suddenly dying. Suppose halfway through the service, the lights in the building start to uncontrollably flicker. The pressure placed on the sound booth to ensure multiple instruments and voices are balanced can be frustrating and consists of many working pieces. 

    Let us not neglect this ministry or see it as a way for a church to just be flashy. Even in a church with a very basic production, it takes multiple people to pay attention to this area to provide the best worship experience for you. The overall goal would be to create an environment where you could easily invite your friends to visit, where every aspect of the service comes together in decency and in order.  

    Photo Credit: ©Bogomil Mihaylov/Unsplash

  • 3. Set Up/Break Down

    For those with a mobile church, the set up/break down team is one of the most important ministries. Those in large ministries may have to arrive at the designated site three-four hours before the service begins. From setting up the microphones, to piping and draping the area, and putting out chairs for the congregation, this work can be very exhaustive to complete before ever hearing the message. In many ways, these team members are “building the church” every Sunday. 

    For churches that have a permanent location, the set up/break down team might be those who come to the church to clean before/after service. We saw firsthand during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that there’s a need for people who are willing to serve the church in what would seem like a “lowly” position. I believe there is nothing more loving than being a part of the ministries that may not get the glory but are absolutely necessary. The best part of this behind-the-scenes work is that all you need to have is the ability to lift or clean and you are eligible to serve!

    4. Greeting

    Have you ever been to a church that didn’t notice you? Walking into a new church for the first time is very overwhelming and uncomfortable. Greeters are the “first touch” for churches. A rude greeter or having no greeter at all could be the difference between a family who returns and a family who doesn't. In fact, it has been estimated that new guests make the choice to return to church from the first fifteen minutes after they enter the lot. This means before your pastor ever preaches, the greeters and how welcome they make the guests feel will set the tone. It is important to have people who are friendly and can easily point people in the right direction when they enter the building. Churches that aren’t inviting can expect few people to return.

  • social media apps on a phone, Clarence Thomas calls for Big Tech and social media regulations

    5. Creative Ministry 

    Yes! In today’s society, every church needs an active social media presence and website. Guests should be able to view the online presence and know the overall culture of the church. Although some may feel like church graphics and social media are worldly or a waste of time, we must recognize that one’s social media is the true first touch of the ministry. If the website is two years out of date, the graphics are full of misspellings, the social media hasn’t been updated in weeks, this makes guests feel like the ministry isn’t active. Even more so, it will be very difficult to attract those who are searching the internet for a local church to join. 

    We serve a creative God! One needs to only look at the tapestry of creation to see that God doesn’t operate in black and white or just use words to speak to people. He uses color, visuals, sound, and more to create a picture of who He is. For those who question the importance of the creative ministry, I draw you to a moment in Exodus as the Lord speaks to Moses:

    "Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 'See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.'" Exodus 31:1-5

    Amazingly, Bezalel is the first person mentioned to have been “filled with the Spirit of God” in the Bible. The Lord blessed him with special wisdom and artistic ability that no one else had been blessed with before. I believe this is excellent evidence that God can gift a person to know what looks good aesthetically and how to create graphics and design websites that can attract people to Him. The truth is, an amazing social media presence may be the hook that draws a person into the church, but the Spirit of God is what will keep them there. Let us not overlook this ministry as a way to draw people into the church.

    Photo Credit: ©Dole/Unsplash

  • 6. Seniors Ministry 

    The older people in your church cannot be overlooked, underappreciated, or undervalued. Amazingly, although my husband and I are in our 30’s, our ministry tends to attract those who are ages 60+. It has been an amazing journey to gain their wisdom and input into the ministry. However, we admittedly have yet to figure out how to minister to this age demographic. In some churches, we have even seen the older generations being discouraged from greeting, leading in worship, or doing anything that would have them in the forefront. I believe this is the opposite of how the church should operate. Instead, we should invite the wisdom, knowledge, and life experience that they bring to the table. Paul speaks of this concept as he says:

    "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." Titus 2:3-5

    In other words, Paul places a demand on the older generation to not disappear into the background or be seen as irrelevant. If the church is pushing those who aren’t of a certain age away, this shouldn’t be so. Instead, church leaders should seek to see how they can create safe spaces for seniors to grow in the Lord and be ministered to as well.

  • praying hands in a pile of unity, prayers for justice

    7. Prayer/Care Team

    Prayer still changes things! Whether you know it or not, most churches have a group of people who are actively praying over the needs of the church and its members. When church members are sick or in need of extra help, it is the prayer team that steps up to fill the need. Even more so, after service, these are the individuals who are willing to stay late to be a shoulder to cry on and be a support system for those in the church. 

    In addition, those who have committed to caring for the needs of those in the church must not be undervalued. Whether a member has a new baby, there is a death, or a member is in the hospital, someone has to step up to truly care for those in need. This ministry is one that no one thinks of until they need it. Without this ministry, many will say “the church wasn’t there for me in my time of need.” Yet, the truth is that most churches are in desperate need for those who will fill the needs when the time arises. Let us remember to pray for those who carry the burdens of others in prayer and in action.

    Overall, if you have the ability, seek to serve at your local church. Without many willing to assist in various areas, a small number of people end up filling multiple roles and being completely burnt out. Let us carry the work of ministry together. In Jesus' Name!

    "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'” Matthew 9:37-38

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/WoraweeMeepian

    Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and minister’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life.  Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at victoryspeaks.org.