Friday, August 5, 2011

Connections... the right stuff

The success of your ministry is going to depend on the spending the time that you don't have to get stuff done the right way. what i mean is that you need to understand that you are not going to feel that ever have enough time in your day to get stuff accomplished. here is the funny part... you are right. but the reason that you and i don't have the time is that we do not utilize the clock the way that we should. and if we do, it is only for short periods of time. let's face it, we are all procrastinators that would rather be other stuff instead of the work that we need to be doing. yeah, i am definitely guilty. but what you and i have to do is figure out a way to get it done anyway.

in this equation are going to be the peeps in your ministry. these are your warriors; the ones that are going out in the field every day and hook up the ministry opportunities that you can only dream of. there is no way that you are going to connect with all the students in your ministry even if you made the rounds every mid-week program nite - this would be impossible. and for this you need to trust your warriors. and even more so than that you need to be making connections with them on a consistent basis, or you will suffer at least one of a couple fates.

the first of these is that you may lose them altogether from your ministry. they will not feel loved and eventually fade away. and you will prolly never even know what hit you. your staff member will end up missing a nite or two of programming thinking that you will not notice. the ironic thing is that this is true. yeah, you will remember that this person or persons did not show up, but like most other things, you will let is slip your mind like the rest of the stuff you should be getting done in your ministry. then he will inevitably tell you sometime down the road that he is "feeling God pushing him in a different direction of ministry." by this time you are a gonner. there is no going back at this point and you can count yet another leader casualty to your ministry. you will not know what happened, you will be flabbergasted at the notion that this staff member could have possibly expected you to be able to "babysit" him... get over yourself - it's your fault. you are the leader. and being the leader calls for the ultimate responsibility.

however, there is a worse fate than this if you could believe there to be. maybe this staff person will stay in your ministry but get off track with the vision of the group, for lack of you as the leader providing it. then your students will be taught stuff that you do not want them to be taught, bad theology, negative thoughts of your ministry or the church as a whole - you get the picture. by the time that you know this person is doing the stuff that she is, she has already contaminated her group and maybe even the attitudes of other leaders around her. getting rid of her will just make you look bad and ultimately hurt your group.

there is tons more stuff, but you pretty much get the idea that if you are spending time with your staff and connecting with them, they will be on your side and feel loved, as they should. there is no reason for you to be losing staff peeps if you just put in a little, or should i say a lot of time. but this is time well spent. relationships are what matter the most and you cannot shortcut them. do your homework. know your staff members - your warriors. remember, they are getting beat up daily and the enemy is going to try and bring them down. be a good leader and spend time pouring into their lives. it is well worth the time you don't have.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Youth Ministry Syllabus: Part 2

Remember, you are the pulse of your ministry. If your staff sees you putting in the time and taking your job seriously, they will do the same. If they have all the material... they are the ones responsible now. Wow! That's right. Transfer responsibility and you will create an expectation of them. They will not come unprepared because you have set them up for success. Now if they fail, it is on them (well, it is still on you – but you catch my drift). They will do crazy stuff like bring your lessons and group questions all marked up with ideas they have for their group, ideas of stuff specifically for their students and ways they can be a better leader.

Also, they will come with questions for you about the passages you have chosen for the next few months, which makes you be accountable for the stuff that you put out. And we all know that it is nice to not have to have anything in writing so we do not have to answer. However, that is not good ministry. Good ministry is getting your material out on time. So, even though you may behind the curve already for this year, you still have time to get on it. Put in the extra time. Put in the long hours now and you will thank yourself later on this year when you are coming up to the holiday season and you are ahead of where you have ever been.

Setting your staff up for success will put you way beyond where you could get the group on your own talents and skills. So, get them as much material and calendar items as quickly as you can. The more they have the more success you will give them and will build confidence as a team. They deserve the chance to do the best they can with the students God has put in their groups. And you will stay sane... at least for a long period of time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Youth Ministry Syllabus: Part 1

I would be shocked to ever hear a youth pastor to say that he or she has over-planned. The reality is that we like to do just enuff the make sure things are going to happen. Many to most of us do or have lived the motto “Excellence is the enemy of Good Enuff.” there are just too many activities and meetings going on in your day to worry about making stuff perfect. I mean common, you have more on your plate than the average person. You are expected to work long hours. And not just the ones during the day, but all the extras that your senior pastor does not see. The ones cleaning up after a crazy midweek program all by yourself because all your staff has to leave right after group to get enuff sleep to make it through the day tomorrow. What about you??? yes, I know that you are living the fast life, and sometimes it is dragging you along – much of the time on your face. And for this reason we need to be on point as much as possible to allow wiggle room for the madness that comes up that we do not expect.

One of the best ways you can prepare yourself and your staff is to distribute information ahead of time, you know, like a proff does at the beginning of a semester or quarter in college. I am talking about so much information that your volunteers and interns are wondering if you are sane anymore. For instance, it is the beginning of September and most of us are in a place where we are scrambling to get the Fall schedule in order cause our midweek “kick-off stuff” is right around the corner. You know, weeks or sometimes only days away. You are still cleaning sand out of the car or unpacking from your last pool or house party of the summer. You have not had time to even look at what your Fall is going to look like yet. I know that it can be straight up madness. I have been there. Sometimes I still am. But I am getting better. And yo can too.

Start here. If you know what you are going to be doing this Fall and the stuff you are talking about, the activities, teams and outreach events – write them down. And do it in way that you can distribute it to your staff in early September before your school ministry season begins. You will see a world of difference in the way that your staff – and you for that matter – approaches ministry. And this is why. Your staff sees you in a couple of lights. The first is that you are running around and doing a million tasks at the same time. Secondly, they think you make up stuff at the last second, you know, right before the event or outreach nite starts. If you give them a packet of lessons, scripture, teams, games, phone numbers and ideas ahead of time they will take stuff more seriously.