Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A ministry marathon of a season

Have you ever run a marathon before? it's a bunch of work. recently i took on the endeavor and realized that ten years later the training is a lot different - it's harder! there was about thirty-four weeks of training leading up to the big day and i knew that i could not slack. if i did then it would mess up the entire training. so, i got a calendar and put on each day how many miles i was going to have to run each day. each day i would run i would cross off that day. it was very fulfilling. and as i got closer i realized that i got more excited and there was a goal that was becoming more of a reality. the same is true in ministry.

i am not talking about ministry in terms of the long haul of life, although that is also a marathon. i am talking about each season of ministry that you are in. let's say that a good length for a ministry marathon season is a year. and by a year i mean the beginning to the end of the school year for the students. this is about a nine-month season. it does not seem that long but try going every week without a break and tell me how you feel from september to the end of january. it gets crazy. and the problem is that we just make a calendar and give it to our volunteer staff and expect them to stay healthy for the duration of the year. it ain't gonna happen. imagine if you had never run a marathon and i gave you no schedule and told you to get ready for the race coming up in nine months. you would prolly not do too well. why... discipline. it is your job to keep your staff in the proper and strict training while at the same time helping them love what they are doing.

you already know that they love the kids and ministry or they would not be there. you need to give them the goal and then the training schedule. then you have to go beyond that and make sure they are staying on track. just like in the training for a marathon, if your peeps fail to do the daily and weekly stuff, and are not disciplined in their own lives, spiritually and the like, you will have some peeps drop out along the way. this is not good.

think about it. there is so many other things that are pulling at your staff. they have school, work, family, personal interests, sleep, etc. if you do not know what is going on in the lives of your staff you can bet that some if not all of them are going to fall out or at the very least not be as effective as they should or can be. and that is not acceptable. you owe it to them to give them the best possible chance to kick butt in ministry. if you are strategically planning ever step of the way then they will be able to follow you and do what you brought them along to do... touch lives and change kids to follow God.

you are the coach. you need to be able to spot when your team is waning as a whole or even a couple of individuals. Florence Shinn once said, "Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way." you need to be that person to point the way. all of your peeps are going to wait for you to do so... and they have every right to do so. but if you get complacent and get too busy or whatever to pay attention, it will happen. and before you know it you will be scrambling to fill holes of the staff peeps that burn out or can't finish for whatever reason. you will have to do the work either way. you can either be preventative or you can react to the mistake of not taking care of stuff when you should have. it will make for a more durable and sustainable ministry.

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