10 Lessons from The 2013 Well

wellThanks to Jen DeJong from Ministry Architects for sharing with us at The Well, a Seminar For Youth Workers.  It was a great time meeting with youth workers around the state.  Thanks to each hosting site for the awesome partnership and hospitality.

Here are ten of the many lessons from the sessions:

Invest financially in ministry to students! It would be good if reaching the next generation could be as much of a priority as we place on other things.  The typical budget for student ministry ought to be somewhere between $1000-$1500 per student.  This would count the program budget, the salaries paid to leaders, etc.

Think about what’s next now. Churches are notorious for riding the waves of momentum until they crash. Instead, we need to think about the next wave before we come down from the one we are on.

Balcony time is a must for ministry leaders.  In order to be effective, we have to invest some of our time (4 hours per week for full time ministry staff) to vision, dream and plan the overall approach to ministry.  In the balcony, we can take a look at all the areas of ministry, we can see things more clearly and we can chart out how to accomplish the important aspects of our ministry.

Great leaders typically don’t volunteer. They are recruited, invited and pursued. If you want the best people on your team, pray, choose, seek, and go after them.  Invite them personally.  It will make all the difference in your volunteer staff.

Build a web of relationships. Students need a web of relationships, not just one superstar relationship in the ministry.  Be a relational architect for your students – give them a broad opportunity to connect with adults who are following Christ.

The only healthy way to do ministry is to have a team around you.  Ministry leaders have to figure out ways to involve others more readily.

For structures and systems to work, the culture needs to be healthy. You need to be attentive to the culture and climate of your organization otherwise the structures won’t work. Making a change in the process without working on the culture surrounding it won’t help much.

Be an importer of joy – in meetings, in ministry, in situations. Have a non-anxious, playful presence.

“Your ministry is perfectly designed to achieve the results you are getting.”  This is a great quote from Andy Stanley.  It’s so true – don’t just look the outcome and wonder why things are quite working, back up to the structures and systems you have in place.  Work on some of those things to help change the outcome.

Eat the frog before it gets too big and ugly!  Time management for ministry leaders is an art.  Many church workers are left on their own to develop a schedule and oversee themselves in ministry tasks.  One concrete concept to time management is to eat the frog (the task) early, before it grows and becomes much harder to swallow.  If you have an event or project you are planning  months down the road, the frog is tiny and manageable now.  But if wait too much longer before you get started, you’ll be in trouble.

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