The love that sparks the task should fuel the task

When you start a project or task its easy to get motivated. New things are exciting and carry a sense of momentum. But we don’t just go and do new things… we do things that we believe in… we just find it easier to do the new ones!

So how do you keep plugging away at the project or task when it’s no longer new?

Part of the answer is to re-consider the motivation that made that task exciting in the first place. Ask yourself (or your team), “What were you excited about this project before you got started? What were you hoping it would do?”

The goal or purpose of the project shouldn’t have changed since then. And that means the motivation to reach that goal shouldn’t have changed either.

So dig into the love that sparked the task, and keep working to use that motivation to fuel the task.

The people in the meeting define the purpose, not just the person calling the meeting

This may seem the wrong way around, and to some extent, it shouldn’t be this way. However, every time someone new joins a meeting, the purpose of the meeting changes slightly to accommodate their “needs”; whether felt needs or real needs.

Why? Because the people in the meeting are expecting to get something out of the meeting. Or they are expecting to contribute something to the meeting.

So, even though YOU might have a reason for calling your meeting, the people you call will bring their own expectations.

The point is, if having that person in the room is going to change the purpose of the meeting dramatically, better not to invite them in the first place. In the end, it’s your meeting.

Keep your team from “silo-ing”… except when they need to silo

A silo is a big container that keeps things separate. And you don’t want your team to do that. The welcoming guy should really care about what the mission guy is doing, the mag guy should be anxious about what’s going on in the maturity team. When team members silo they stop caring about the big picture and focus on the small.
But, there is a point when you need to silo. If one of your team is not doing the job they’re meant to do – because they are so involved in another team’s thing, they need to silo again.
There comes a point when your team members just need to sit down and think about how they’re going to get their bit done brilliantly.
That’s the best thing they can do for the whole team.

Should your team have “goals” or “problems to fix”?

It doesn’t matter really. They are both concepts of the future. They’re both things to work towards. But some people need to hear it one way, and other people need to hear it the other way.

Goal: Encourage 100 people to invite their friends along to the Life evangelistic course.
Problem: Thousands of people are going to hell, only the gospel of Jesus can save them, and we’ve got 100 people at church.

Goal: Make Sunday meetings God-glorifying, challenging and encouraging.
Problem: We’ve only got one opportunity each week when we gather God’s people together… what should we do?

If you give your team goals, they’ll have a clearer idea what you want. If you give them problems, you might get better ideas.

Why the core activity of leadership is making decisions

If you’re a leader of a ministry, an group, a church, whatever, your core activity is making decisions.
In the end, it was your decision to accept this post, it was your decision to get people on board with you, it was your decision that you’d all focus on X and not Y. You decided to take that person’s suggestion, and say no to that person’s suggestion.
You’re constantly re-stating the decisions you’ve already made. (If you think these are assumptions… You’re wrong).
If there’s a question your team can’t answer, you’re the one they turn to for a decision.

Privacy, keeping secrets and keeping confidences in ministry #horstmans-laws.6

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
Sometimes the people of this world truly are better at dealing with their own kind than people in the kingdom (Lk 16). In the secular world, people know they need to be very careful with private or sensitive information. Though they do make mistakes, they are fully aware that other people will break confidences in terrible ways.
The trouble is that Christians seem to forget that other Christians still sin.
If you tell someone a little secret they’re not meant to tell anyone, you are burdening them with a load and a temptation. Why are you doing that? Why would you knowingly lead one of your fellow brothers or sisters into more temptation than they already feel?
If someone doesn’t need to know, then don’t tell them. Don’t tempt them with another sin!
But there is a flip side… If the information relates to a project or to the team. In those situations, you should be open and share it. Let others know… If you tell me something that’s going to have an effect on my team, I’m not going to keep it secret. I’m going to tell my team.
Because you don’t keep secrets from your team. Your team is the people you share your secrets with.

Join the team, not the job description

If you’ve got staff who are “church members” first, the next step is not to offer them a job. The next step is to offer them a spot on the staff team.
Again this is an important distinction. Team members do what’s best for the team and the church.
So if you’re a front row forward, and you get caught with the ball on the wing, you don’t say, “uh, I’m not paid the sprint, I’m just a forward.” No! You sprint your chubby little legs off and do the best you can for the good of the team. If your a striker and they need you in defence you don’t moan about it, you get in there and do your job – serve the team.
That’s the distinction right there. What do the members of your staff team see as their job? If their first thought is some role or task… they might not have understood this. If they say “I serve the church and the staff team by…” that’s more what you’d want to hear.
You want a staff team who are all happy to do jobs their not suited to because that’s what the church needs.
That’s team work.
Join the team, not the job.

Do you have staff members who are paid to go to church or church members who are paid to be on staff?

This is a really important distinction. And it’s important that you keep making it clear both to your church and your staff team.
Some church staff members see themselves kind of like “consultants”. They are only at this particular church because that’s their job. That’s dangerous because that’s a completely different point of view of everyone else who’s part of that church. All your members aren’t paid to be there!! They choose to be there. In fact, don’t you hope they want to be there?
Rather, as you go about employing staff, the very first question to ask is: will you join this church? Will you make this church your home – not because your paid to, but because Christians are meant to be part of a church family.
Only after they’ve made that commitment to join the church, then you ask them to be part of the staff team.
Staff should be church members first, and staff members second.

Why you should have purposes #4: You’re not an all-rounder

So there’s something like 5 big reasons or purposes behind everything we do in ministry… But chances are you have a bent towards 2 or maybe 3 of them. That is, you agree with all the big purposes, you love them, but you personally find yourself having energy to give to a few of them over and above the other ones.
On the other hand, there’s really just too much to do for all of the purposes. You can’t fit them all into a working week… Not just in terms of time, but in terms of focus. Mental focus. Even the above average minister just can’t keep a handle on how all those big things are going.
What happens then?
You end up with a “Congregational Pastor” who can only really focus on 2 or 3 big purposes. They get all the attention, all the effort, and the other purposes just trail along behind.
We see this a lot don’t we? One church is doing great things evangelistically, but you start to have concerns about their theological convictions and the type of people they let lead groups. Another church is great at welcoming people and expressing deep Christian fellowship, but they just struggle to be evangelistic or really skill people up into ministry roles. Another church does their Sunday meetings and singing really well, but they leave people feeling shallow and disconnected.
Staffing for purposes just says; we value all the things… We want to be a church that at least tries to be all these good things and develop in all thee good ways… So we appoint staff and volunteers to take responsibility for those things. We invite them to focus on those things, so as a team, and as a family, we do them all well.


Why you should have purposes #3 : You already do them (probably badly)

If you’re in paid full time ministry, you’ve already thought hard about WHY you do the things your doing. You’ve thought hard about why you spend 10hrs on one thing, and only 2 on the other, right? (Ok well lets just assume you could justify it).
The fact is that all those things you’re already doing all fall into one of about 5-6 categories. Sure some might fall into two, some might fall into three. But they will have a primary purposes, with secondary outcomes.
So do a little exercise… Review how much of your week/month is spent trying to achieve these purposes;

  • growing and facilitating people’s convictions about evangelism
  • growing and facilitating people’s expression of Christian fellowship
  • growing and facilitating people’s maturity in knowing God
  • growing and facilitating people’s expression of thankfulness, obedience and love of God
  • growing and facilitating people’s skills in service of the kingdom

Sure you might slice the cake a bit differently, but that’s what the things you do come down to, don’t they?
Why do you put effort into music? It’s a little bit of a few of them, but mainly because you want to provide a right and joyful expression of love for God, right?
Why do you meet with your growth group leaders? Because you want to help them grow others in maturity, right?
I reckon you can link everything you do in ministry to one of these big purposes.
See, you’re already doing them… But do you know which ones you do best? Do you know which ones you’re spending the most time on? Do you know which ones you’re neglecting? Do you know which ones are holding you back (humanly speaking) from growing?