We often make the mistake of waiting too long. The moment is gone, the iron has cooled. These missed opportunities have big implications for the church.
Of course, there is still a need for caution. There will also be wisdom in gathering people around the table for big decisions. But here are five areas where you don’t want to wait too long before acting:
Inviting New People To Serve
Sometimes we wait way too long before inviting a new person to serve in the church. As soon as possible, plug them into some ministry, role or opportunity. Often, the connection in a ministry of service will be one of the simplest and easiest ways to feel like part of the family. Most often, someone will help serve in hospitality, tech ministry, recreation or outreach ministries before they will join in a small group or Bible Study. There are some obvious roles where people need to be vetted carefully (children’s ministry volunteers as an example), but create a culture of inviting people to jump in quickly and begin taking part in the church in meaningful ways as soon as possible. New people are typically the most excited about these things and their energy will be contagious. Don’t wait six months or a year before inviting people to really commit.
Repairing Broken Systems
Systems serve us, but they can also break us. We are in charge of the systems we have in place and if something is no longer working, change it! If your system of meeting with leadership is too frequent or too infrequent, make a change. If the system for counting Sunday morning offering isn’t working well, set a new schedule with some new parameters. If you have a broken guest follow up system, you need to get that working well really quickly! Systems are in place to aid in the mission of the church. If something is broken, jump in and fix it quickly, and lovingly (some people become emotionally connected to systems, but most often understand when we explain the why behind the change). You may not have things exactly right, but take a stab at the new system and tweak it along the way.
Giving Leadership Feedback
It’s not easy to build a culture of frank feedback, but it’s needed. Immediate feedback and insight are invaluable for a staff team and for the effectiveness of the overall church. If you wait too long to share something that’s not going well (or even something that went really well!) you miss a moment of impact. Learn to find a way to give private, quick, moments of feedback to your staff and key leaders. It may be awkward at first, but find a foundation of trust by inviting them to do the same for you. We’re in this together. Iron sharpens iron.
Responding When There’s Relational Funk
When there’s relational funk, respond. Don’t wait, just get on the phone and talk. An example might be that someone hasn’t shown up to a meeting or a group for a couple weeks or when you all of a sudden realize you haven’t seen a particular family in worship for weeks and it just dawned on you. We often wait too long, uncertain of how to respond. The best thing to do is grab the bull by the horns, contact them and engage. Apologize if you missed a major family emergency or event. Ask “how they are doing” and stop talking. Don’t just fret away wondering what’s going on with someone who has stopped being highly connected to you – engage. Contact. Call. Respond to them now.
Making Simple Decisions
This is more of an art than a science but make most decisions now. We wait too long deciding on inconsequential things. Most often people just want to know – is the event going the be on Friday or Saturday. Will we meet once a month or more. Will this involve kids or not. Get some advice, think for a bit, then let people know. You also have some other options – you can delegate a decision to someone who is closer to the situation. You can delegate to help someone learn experience leading in that way. But whatever you do, don’t drag out the little decisions – decide, act and change it later if you need to.