Anyone considering sidewalk ministry should work towards gathering a team. Jesus, of course, sent missionaries out in minimum groups of two. There are many reasons for this. Teams encourage and uplift each other. Teams’ varying skills complement each other. Teams can protect each other. Teams can correct and refine each other.
In the teams we have developed in Charlotte, we are mindful of how our teams are utilized each day on the sidewalk. Every team member is useful, and we want to be sure that every team member recognizes how critical they are. We are careful to assign team positions each week so that each member has a defined role. Sometimes we shift those members to other positions so they do not get in a rut, and also so they are fully equipped to handle various roles.
Paul describes in detail that in the church, every part of the body is critical. The lowly/hidden parts are no less necessary than the more visible/exalted parts.
“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also it is with Christ” 1 Corinthians 12:12 (and 1 Corinthians 12:14-27).
Of course, Paul is describing the Church, which is the body of Christ. This passage is not specifically to indicate how to set ministry teams; however it is a good model for just that. Each part of the team is unique and gifted by God. They have a special role to play and if that role is neglected, the whole team suffers. All are necessary and all should be honored. Success is not just the product of one individual on a team but of the whole team working together as they should.
It is such a difficult ministry. Discouragement can set in quickly if any team member feels underutilized or unnecessary.
For that reason, in our sidewalk ministry in Charlotte, we make sure to identify key positions and roles on the sidewalk. To ensure the team functions properly not as individual units but as cohesive body of Christ, we have found a team leader is essential.
One team member mans the driveway to pass out literature to every mom who drives in. One or two team members spread out on the sidewalk and call out to the women as they exit their cars and enter the abortion center. Another team member has a microphone that will be used if the pro-abortion crowd is so loud that moms cannot hear our team members. If we have more team members, we send one to each end of the street to try to intercept moms as they approach the abortion center. If we have more team members, especially young ones, we have them hold signs at strategic intervals along the street.
Since there are at least two team members each given day, one should ideally be the team lead. The team lead is an important position in keeping the team running smoothly in a God-honoring way. We developed a protocol in selecting team leads, outlining their responsibilities, and suggestions for the team leads in encouraging their members and keeping the team effective and committed. While some of our protocol is specific to our Charlotte teams, most of this list below can be used to help guide any ministry in selecting and training team leads. We hope this will be beneficial to anyone developing teams and team leaders in sidewalk outreach.
Team Lead Responsibilities
- Encourage team
- Be sure minimum full team will be there.
- Gather equipment needed or designate someone to do so (camera/mic/sound)
- Place team members/signs
- Begin and end with prayer
- Write up team reports at end of day
- Be sure team has necessary supplies like T-shirts/pamphlets
- Deal with crisis intervention: arguments, questions, angry moms/dads, police, need to call 911
- Put away all equipment/supplies
- Take photos
- Be sure all team members understand how to access and are on the group calendar
- Keep team from excessive chit chat, help them maintain correct team position, and correct them kindly if these become issues that distract from their effectiveness.
Ideal Qualities of Team Lead
- Deeply abiding in God and in His word
- Willing to be committed to specific day and arriving before rest of team
- Leader is willing to lead by example
- Not afraid to confront
- An encourager
- A seasoned sidewalk counselor
Suggested Inspiring Ideas for Team
- Discipleship/Bible study with teams
- Inspiring video or Bible passage or word as team gathers
- Group texts/emails to send encouragement and necessary correspondences (like vacation or clinic closing dates)
- Encourage each team member daily, pointing out what they have done well.
- Teaching team members to grow on ability/effectiveness by pointing out what could be improved upon
- Maybe schedule time as a team off the sidewalk to meet with each other like coffee date before sidewalk time.
- Send encouraging texts to individuals with photos and commendation for specific things that they did well.it