In my time as a ministry leader, I have had successes, but I have also had failures. My biggest disaster in ministry occurred when I was leading an event planning team. One of my team members had voiced their desire to focus their attentions elsewhere and I just didn’t recognize their inclination to bow out of the team. I insisted they were gifted and that this was where they belonged – I did not listen. They had the skills, so they needed to stay.
This insistence left my team angry, hurt and confused. We didn’t have the desired impact and we wasted valuable time. Through my failure, I hope to guide you towards success.
Here are three questions to ask that will help you structure your ministry for success.
IS EVERYONE ON THE RIGHT TEAM OR IN THE RIGHT MINISTRY?
God has given me the privilege of being surrounded by people with immense talent. Under my leadership, some of these talented people were struggling. I couldn’t understand why. They had the skills and talents, so why wasn’t the ministry functioning like a well-oiled machine?
I needed to consider if this was actually the right ministry for them.
When you have a new paid or volunteer leader, be intentional about observing their involvement to see if adjustments are necessary. Ask yourself:
- Are they excelling?
- Is additional training needed?
- Have we given them everything they need to succeed?
- God, is it time for them to grow in something else?
We want our teams to grow both spiritually and in their skill sets. But we also need discernment and flexibility when it comes to maximizing people’s passions and resources. It is a disservice to those we lead to back leaders into a ministry corner, not recognizing that God may have other plans for their desire to serve.
AM I THINKING FROM THE BOTTOM UP, NOT THE TOP DOWN?
Every ministry has some form of outreach. Whether planning an event, inviting someone to your service or organizing a giveaway of some kind, we have to spend time thinking about those we are going to impact.
- What do the people we are trying to reach really need from us?
- What really matters to them?
As a marketing leader, I have an affinity for making things look good. For a Thanksgiving dinner we were hosting, I wanted to make our event magazine worthy! But spending the extra money for high gloss paper vs matte paper or the extra hours needed to make ridiculously intricate centerpieces really doesn’t help the person who is hungry.
The person I am serving at said Thanksgiving dinner simply wants care and a meal. So before practical planning even starts, I need to ask, how do I use my talent in marketing to provide the those things, not just make the event look nice? That should be the focus. Considering the end goal first avoids wasting valuable resources and helps your ministry have a greater impact.
DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS?
It amazes me how busy ministry is at times. Being tied to tasks and working feverishly day after day is not beneficial to you, your family or the people you lead. God does not want us burned out, nor can we truly serve Him with excellence when we are.
The right tools can help!
Paper is becoming a thing of the past. Technology is at your disposal, providing time and sanity saving methods for routine tasks. Start taking inventory of your day. Are there tasks you are doing multiple times or in multiple places? Technology can help streamline that process. For example, you could take the time to login and post the same thing on each of your social media channels. Or you could use a program like HootSuite that allows you to create and schedule posts for all your socials in one place.
Maybe you’re not using the technology you have to its full potential. Admittedly, new technology can be overwhelming. Have you wanted to shift your ministry or church staff to an online business communication platform like Slack but been too overwhelmed by the learning curve? Or do you continue to use multiple programs for things you know Planning Center Online can do all in one spot but you have no clue where to start? Take advantage of the free training and online tutorials most companies offer. Spending a few hours in training will save you and your ministry dozens of hours later.
Don’t be afraid of the “cloud.” The reality is that most churches don’t have the space necessary to store everything electronically nor is everyone able to come to the church to do what needs to be done. The cloud not only maintains that storage, but gives your team the freedom to access your programs remotely. How many people can you think of that want to serve in your ministry, but can’t physically be there all the time?
Cloud-based programs also provide “real-time” information that can be accessed anywhere at any time. Your team will always be working with the most up-to-date version. This dramatically reduces the risk of error.
BE GOSPEL CENTERED
Building the right team, thinking strategically and using the right tools are but a few ways to be successful in ministry. We must stay Great Commission focused. Without this focus, all of the above is done in vain. In all things be led by His spirit and His spirit alone.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
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