I’m 3 months into my role as a full time pastor in Bowling Green, Kentucky. My church has a rich history and a long line of pastors who were well seasoned before taking their role at this particular church. That thought could be a bit overwhelming for a recent seminary graduate. Instead of trying to do everything on my own, I’m learning to use the power of the ask. A fundamental principle of fundraising is that most people don’t give because they aren’t asked. I think the same is true for pastoral leadership as well. A pastor can lack many things needed for ministry success because they don’t ask (or ask in the right way). Here’s how you can use the power of the ask:
I’m working with the youth group at my church this year. Wanted to share with you our three main goals for the year. These can help you no matter what ministry you’re involved in.
It’s really easy to get excited about doing ministry early in the year. New ideas and new opportunities abound. The temptation and potential for letdown shows up as the year moves along. This year we’re making a commitment to be consistent. Often ministries can get caught up in their once a year or once a quarter bash. The people need something more. We’re working to ensure that our ministry provides consistent, quality, spiritual programs and activities for our young people. What about the group you’re serving? Is the Christmas party or church picnic the only thing they know you for? Set up a plan to make sure your ministry is engaging the congregation and the community often.
2. Training for Leadership
Train someone to replace you. Okay now that might be a shocker for some because we like to think that we’re indispensible. Our second goal this year is to train our young people and other volunteers for leadership positions. I’ve heard it said that some of the best leaders work themselves out of a job. The effort you put into training another leader will reduce your workload and allow others to grow in ministry. Training leaders also means avoiding the scramble to fill positions at the end of the year.
We love telling people what to do, especially when it comes to Christianity. We’re good at revealing what their problems are and what they need to do to solve them. Truthfully it’s information that most people know already. Often the problem is not the WHAT but the HOW. For the young people the question is how to I become a better Christian or how do I show Christ at school. Discipleship is the how. It’s the process of guiding someone to understand not only what it means to follow Jesus, but answers the question how does that look in everyday life? Modeling is the most effective way to teach others about Christ. Don’t just talk about Jesus, live like you’re his disciple as well.
So you’ve just been appointed the new leader. There’s an excitement in the air as you think about your new duties in the office, with a non-profit or leading out in a church ministry. Maybe you feel apprehensive. Will I be good enough? Will they accept me? Will I have supporters? Feelings of excitement and or apprehension are normal at this stage. This is an opportunity for growth in your organization and you play a significant role.. No pressure. Here are a few tips than can help transition your leadership from ordinary to extraordinary.
Start Slow - Rushing to implement your five-year plan or redecorate your office may not be a good first impression. Forging ahead while bypassing the feelings of others is not a way to gain supporters. Start by asking some questions. How were things people you arrived at this post? What did the old leader do well or not so well? Sometimes leadership changes on a bad note. People want to make sure that you’re going to hurt them like the last guy did. Organizations naturally resist change. The faster you move to change things, the greater your chances of facing resistance. Take your time. It will pay off in the end.
Build Your Team - What good is the basketball captain without the four other players on the court? What could a general do without the soldiers? No people, no leadership function. The best leaders not only command their team but also engage and empower others. Consider your areas of weakness. Who can you recruit to work with you in those areas? Who will you empower? Who will you help to draw the leader of out? Some think that helping others to see their own leadership potential may diminish the leader’s influence. The opposite is true. As you mentor others your value will increase and your workload will diminish.
Welcome Critiques - Remember the suggestion box? That’s still a good idea. Now before you go running off to cut a whole in a shoebox get creative. Create an email account specifically for taking suggestions or setup a Google voice number that people can text their suggestions to. The best organizations change in order to survive. They adapt or they die. Find out the concerns of those you work with and work for. Ask for insight into areas where you may be missing the mark. Great leaders adapt and much of the adaptation comes from dialogue with those who they are connected with. Dell, the multinational technology company, used the power of suggestions to significant improve their company. They created a website called www.ideastorm.com to find out that the public though about Dell products and to generate ideas for new offerings. You better believe that behind these improvements were leaders who were willing to take suggestions as well.
Our church held its first youth program for the year, a good old fashioned vespers service. It was great to see the church come together. Young people laughing old people sharing – fun times. Many remarked that they were looking forward to next week. For those leading out in ministry this is humbling and overwhelming. In a short time interests are being piqued and expectations are being developed. This is a point where leaders can make the not so good decision of going it alone. We can choose to reply only on our own ideas or function under our own power. Rather than make that mistake its better to ask for insight.
What are some of ways to jumpstart an inner city youth ministry program?
How can we connect with today’s young people?
How do we empower/recruit others to support our youth ministry?
What are some suggestions for small church youth leaders?
Technically I’m on holiday break but I haven’t been doing a good job of breaking.
Everyday I’m looking for “something” to do. Today I managed to unplug a bit more, but I did sneak in a meeting during lunch. I’m hardwired for work. It’s genetic. My father has accumulated close to 300 unused sick/personal hours this year. He is not a fan of taking a day off either. Read More …