I’ve been privileged and blessed to be a part of the same church for 35 years now. I showed up as a high school student and began serving on staff ten years later. I can hardly believe I’ve been in this role for a two and a half decades. I’ve been serving in a church role at the same church longer than most church leaders I meet.
One thing I’ve learned about ministry is that everyone is interim in a sense. Even pastors or staff members who have been a part of a church for 45 years will someday no longer be. I’ve also seen lots of transition among staff members and church leaders. But by God’s grace the church keeps on going despite those transitions.
To bring clarity to my daily tasks and work, I often think about how what I’m doing will help when I’m not in this position anymore. It helps me take a deeper look, be bolder with requests, and set expectations higher. As pastors and church staff team members, we want to equip the saints, build leaders, and help the church stay strong.
Here are five things to think about as you are working in your ministry role, knowing that at any time, God may have another assignment for you.
Is Your Team Positioned Well For Life Without You?
Take a vacation or be sick some weekend. Can your leaders take it and go? What kind of work do you need to do in order to make this a reality?
Is Your Ministry Built Around The Mission Or Around You?
Charisma is great, but can bring trouble if the people rally around you only. Help people know they are part of the overall mission by putting things in writing. Write out the mission, the process, how people get connected, and how people can use their gifts for ministry. Make sure to also name leaders around you – don’t try to do it all yourself.
Is Your Team Distracted By Drama And Controversy?
There are a handful of ways to help overcome inevitable drama and controversy. Start by building culture of open communication and frankness with key leaders. Spend time praying together. Do all you can to succeed and bring in new people. These actions will limit the issues by keeping everyone focused outward.
Do You Have Systems In Place That Will Carry On Without You?
I once heard an acronym for SYSTEM: “Saves You Stress, Time, Energy, & Money.” Without systems in place for you and your people, it will be difficult for each team member or volunteer to be able to do their best work, invest time effectively and accomplish the mission together as a group. Without systems, you will have lone rangers serving at various levels of success and burnout will increase. Remember that systems should work for you. Change them when they are not working well or become too much of a burden.
Is There Enough Momentum To Keep Things Moving When A Transition Occurs?
Momentum is built through relationships, small things done well, appreciation, organizational and missional success, and celebration. Keep growing this culture and encourage the things that create momentum.
Each of these are great checkpoints that help you to set up your ministry to function with or without you. Even better, these five things give you a blueprint for things to work on today – right where you are.
Help position your team, build around a mission, surpass drama with success and new people, create and nurture great and simple systems, and keep momentum going through prayer, encouragement, and solid leadership.
These ideas came from a recent book I read called “What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain” by Jeff Henderson.
You can also take a listen to today’s podcast episode on this same topic here.