Maintaining Momentum in Children’s Ministry
Ready to Quit?
Some of you are ready to quit right now. You haven’t told anyone, but you’re thinking about it. The new year is right around the corner, and you’re thinking about a move.
Wouldn’t it be great to get to a new church where everybody worked together rather than against each other? Wouldn’t it be great to be in an organization where the senior leadership was as passionate about family as you are? Wouldn’t it be great to even start a brand new church where you didn’t struggle with the problems existing churches face?
New is an awesome idea. But new loses its luster faster than you think. In fact, sometimes new shines less brightly than old.
Some of you are actually probably called to start something new, but I wonder how many of us use new as an excuse to not work through the issues facing us?
Come on, you see it in other people so easily. His marriage broke up, and now he’s on wife number two (or three, or four), but all he did was take all his baggage and dump it into a new relationship. The only thing that’s new is the players – the script is the same. Actually, it’s worse, because now he’s got two families to manage and a past that’s less than resolved or ideal.
Could the same be true of you? It’s so tempting to believe that new is going to resolve our problems. A new job, a new wife, a new staff, a new congregation, a new town … But is new really the answer?
When have you seen this? Do you see it in other teams? Do you feel that pull toward new? How do you know when it’s God, and how do you know when it’s something else?
The Same Page
We’re human. We’re tempted to believe that new is always better than same. Some of you are tempted right now to start a brand new page in your life. But today, I want to change that up.
A new church is not necessarily better than the same church, nor is new staff inherently better than who you’ve currently got, nor is a new job going to be inherently better than your current job.
Here’s what I believe: Having a team on the same page is far better than simply starting on a new page.
What if you could align your current team around the same vision? What if your volunteers, staff, elders, and leaders were all headed in the same direction? What if your current team set out on an agreed-upon plan and everyone worked together to achieve the same goals?
I know…sounds like a pipe dream. But here’s the bomb that needs to be dropped: There is absolutely no guarantee that a new team will be any more aligned than your current team. Zero. You have to work with people, and people always show up with competing visions, strategies, and agendas. There’s a reason most new businesses and most new churches don’t live up to promise. Part of the reason is that even new teams struggle with alignment, with truly being on the same page.
So before you jump into something new, consider this: You’ll be facing the same (maybe even more) challenges in aligning your new team as you are in trying to align your current team.
Do you see that? Why do you think new still lures many of us when the value of being on the same page is more powerful than starting on a new page? What’s the luster for you?
Getting Your Team on the Same Page
So if getting people on the same page yields greater results than simply starting on a new page, how do you get your team on the same page?
I’d love your thoughts and best practices, but here are a few we’ve learned over time:
Meet together. You can’t be on the same page if you’re not in the same room.
Put strategy on the table. Get agreement on more than mission – get agreement on strategy. Everyone agrees when it comes to mission in your church; it’s something about Jesus and reaching people. Who can be against that? Strategy is where people differ.
Tackle tough questions. Learn what everyone is doing, and work at aligning all your ministry areas.
Be clear. Ministry is notoriously fuzzy. Fight that. When you are completely clear on what you are going to do, why you are doing it, and how you will do it, you will at least be able to see agreement and disagreement. Fight for clarity.
Build trust. People who don’t trust each other can’t work together at meaningful levels. Spend time on the court and off the court building trust – get to know your team, believe in your team, and enjoy your team. People who like each other work together far better than those who don’t like each other or even know each other.
Show Respect. You may not be the top leader in your organization – but respect those who are. Lead up by showing respect for your team members and leaders. Remember, your senior pastor answers to a board. He likely doesn’t have final authority. Pray for your team. Respect them. Their respect for you will grow.
There are a few ideas. What are yours?
I know it’s hard work, but the reality is you’ll have to do it wherever you are – in your current position or in any new position. I love the team I get to work with, but one of the reasons I love working with them is because everyone is committed to being on the same page.