Here are a few practical things that I am working on. I can see these as being beneficial for all my ministry friends and connections.
Clap the loudest for those who are learning
We have a tendency in the church to applaud the big time leaders – those with successful ministries and over-the-top amazing projects. These leaders and speakers are usually the ones with the largest churches, most successful ministries, strongest sales, and most downloaded/viewed messages. We’re thankful for their witnesses and lives. We want to learn and grow, and trust that the recognized names in leadership are helping us lead the way in our own ministries.
But don’t forget to applaud those who are learning. Beginners need encouragement. Younger, less experienced people around us need to know that we’re behind them, they are off to a good start, and they have potential. Give them the biggest applause.
Don’t get so caught up in the big successes around that you forget that those young folks will become the next big successes. Join them now.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…Zechariah 4:10
Say more than, “I’m Busy”
“I’m busy” is a typical response in any adult conversation. I hear this comment and I have often said it. But a little book has inspired me to stop responding with this statement.
Life is busy. If you’re not working on the clock for work, you’re on the clock at home to make things work out ok. And if you have all the home stuff nailed down, you have relational connections. There are always problems to solve, issues to address, and items to be accomplished. Most people with whom you talk are likely as busy as you are.
Instead of responding so generally and happily negative, take the moment to make a connection. Talk about something more meaningful than your schedule. Ask questions and listen.
Be thankful that you are busy. Be thankful that you have a business to tend. Be thankful that you have a family, a home, and work to do. Be thankful that you’ve been contacted to use your gifts in whatever fashion. A full life and schedule are blessings. Let’s begin to take it in stride.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
A smile can trick the brain
When we smile, our brains think we are happy. Smiling sends a message to our brains that things are great. We are delighted to see something great, meet someone cool, or hear something awesome. Our smiles signal our brains to move ahead with great responses – like the release of chemicals that improve our mood and bring us joy.
It’s as simple as smiling anytime, anywhere. It’s free and not contingent on anything. It’s a great response to life. Think of something joyful and smile about it. Remember a memory and smile. Recount God’s faithfulness and smile. It’s powerful and it helps others. (Read: Smile When You See Them)
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.Proverbs 15:30
Be extra nice to those who serve
I like to know the names people who are checking me into motels. It’s a small simple connection that doesn’t often happen. I like to know the names of servers, post office clerks, and bank tellers. I have often stopped to visit with cashiers to talk about their names. It’s part of my ongoing kindness to those who serve me.
We recently stayed at a motel in Nashville, Tennessee, two times in a month. During our second visit, the breakfast attendant happily greeted us when I remembered her name from our earlier visit.
The goal of kindness should be to bring joy to the people who serve us, not to get something in return. The resulting connections can be amazing. You never know when a person serving you will eventually become someone for you to serve in some fashion.
I always become friends with the church custodian and I have found that to be one of the most important connections when doing ministry. I’m always connected to the sound and tech team when leading worship. I would never make it without them in ministry even though they are often behind the scenes. I am always thinking about the young children around our church and in ministry events we host. In the future, one of those kids could be my pastor.
Be extra nice to those who serve you, work with you, or are in your life. There’s no reason to look down on them.
But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:25-28
Try incorporating these four actions into your life. I’ve been trying each of them more with great results.