As we consider the daily “work” of the ministry, we must think in practical terms. To conclude this lesson, we will discuss six practical tips that will help us to avoid disaster in our various church departments and ensure a positive working culture.
1. Manage Your Goals
The art of managing your goals is discovered in four simple steps. First of all, you must think intentionally. Ask questions such as: What must I do to raise my capacity for leadership? How can I improve my ministry department? How do we fulfill the mission and vision of our local church?
Next, you have to get specific. Goals that are too general are hard to manage or measure. Set proactive goals, rather than reacting to outside circumstances. After getting specific, you must write your goals down. If you never write down your ministry goals, the will never be valid. Lastly, put a date on every goal you set. Give either you or your ministry department a deadline to meet each goal.
Deadlines hold us accountable and give our efforts a sense of urgency.
As you are setting goals and objectives for the future, you should also be evaluating the goals that you have set in the past. Strive to follow-through with past goals and work to see them fulfilled.
Setting goals will help you prepare for the future. We should never wait until the last minute to promote or prepare for church events and programs. We owe Christ a spirit of excellence. Large events should be discussed 3-6 months in advance. Don’t procrastinate and wait to make important decisions until the time of the event. Don’t wait until the last minute to promote, advertise, or prepare. Rather, spend ample time seeking God, covering important programs in prayer, and discussing their details beforehand. This will help you to stay organized and it will also ensure that goals are achieved with excellence.
2. Communicate on a 360° level
Many church leaders have followers underneath them in an organization who they manage and direct. They may also have leaders above them who they report to and receive direction from.
To communicate effectively, be intentional to communicate clearly with leaders above you and with leaders below you in the chain of command.
Celebrate the victories of those below you in leadership and admit your mistakes to those above you in leadership. Don’t let a lack of communication build walls of separation between you and those who serve with you.
One of the best environments to communicate with team members is at team meetings. Meetings, though often despised, will matter if you give them meaning. At meetings, clarify job descriptions and be sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. Ask questions to ensure everyone understands the part they play in the mission of the church.
3. Build structure by establishing systems
Many times, the power of an organization is found in the processes that they develop. People create systems and systems guide the processes of management.
For example, there should be a path of discipleship established in a local church that guides new converts through a process of learning and into a place of service or ministry. Many churches choose to begin a “New Members Class” where converts receive instruction on key doctrines and learn how to grow to a level of spiritual maturity. Another example of an organizational system in a local church is the process through which a new leader may become a Sunday school teacher. Is there a orientation process in place in your church that trains new teachers? If a person feels a call to a specific ministry, is there a system in place that provides relevant teaching, support, and accountability? If a person desires to serve in the youth department, what guidelines must they adhere to so that they can join the youth ministry team? These are all questions that a leader should consider as they develop their own organizational systems.
4. Pick your battles
Over the course of time, as people work and interact with each other, personality conflicts and administrative roadblocks will arise. As a leader, church members often bring their issues and concerns to your attention.
We always strive to accommodate people. However, it is impossible to please 100% of the people 100% of the time.
We must pick the battles to fight that are worthy of our time and effort. If an issue is small or petty, we should take it to God in prayer and not allow it to consume all of our attention. If an obstacle arises, we must seek wise counsel and do our best to find a solution. As we seek to lead our churches, God will lead us and provide support in times of need. Don’t let every small bump in the road halt your progress, passion, or growth.
5. Embrace setbacks as a normal part of progress
Persevere and endure, even unto the end. Do not expect great things to happen without hard work. Behind all great achievement lies great toil. Nothing that is worth doing is done easily. If we intend to accomplish the goals of our lives and churches, we must be diligent. There is a power in persevering effort, consistent focus, and earnest hard work (Proverbs 22:29, Proverbs 13:4).
6. Don’t lose sight of the overall mission
To a great extent, management is the task of overseeing many details. As leaders are striving to become better managers and stewards, it is easy to forget about the overall mission and vision of the church.
If we are primarily focused on details, it is easy to develop a “Performance-Driven” mindset that only emphasizes results, attendance numbers, and the work elements of ministry.
If this occurs, we will miss the mark. Rather than a “Performance-Driven” mindset, we should develop a “Mission-Driven” mindset. We should understand that we work hard to manage our resources well so that we are well able to fulfill the mission of Christ. As we oversee the management of details, we must do so with eternity in mind.