I’ve heard it said that most organizations do the big things well, so it’s in doing the small things well that really set you apart. I remember really taking that idea to heart, and determining that we were going to make at least one small change in the Kid’s Ministry every single week.
This strategy went great at first, but over time it became more and more difficult to come up with a new small change… Every. Single. Week.
Finally, there came a week when I couldn’t think of anything new, which was no big deal until not doing anything new became the norm. At this point, I thought, “It’s no big deal; it’s just a one-off. I’ll think of something by next week.”
But next week turned into the next week and the next and…you get the point.
And I realized that maybe I didn’t have an unlimited capacity to come up with new stuff, and I felt deflated like I was a failure in some way. It took one of my volunteers and a mentor to help me come out the other side with a much healthier outlook.
Here’s what happened:
A volunteer approached me after church one week to let me know that our kids’ checkout process wasn’t working well: It was disorganized, didn’t feel secure and parents were having to wait too long for their kids.
I met with her, and she helped me come up with a new process that worked much better.
You would think that I’d have learned an important lesson about finding new ideas right then and there, but I was still too thick headed.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I was talking with a mentor about how I wasn’t super passionate about being the guy who communicated with the kids in our Large Group every week.
I thought this was fine because I had developed a team of volunteers who hosted our Large Groups, but my mentor caught me off guard when he said, “Anything you lead will only go as far as your vision and passion for it.”
And as I sat there and thought about the impossibility of being passionate about every single role I had as a kids’ pastor—–caring for parents, volunteers and adults, doing outreach, stage design, small groups, production, safety and security, etc.—I finally had a personal epiphany.
I didn’t have to be the sole visionary and passionate advocate for every role; that’s why God gave me (and you) workers (I wrote more specifically about this concept in last week’s post: What to Do When You Don’t Have the Same Passion for All 2,500 Roles You Have to Fulfill as a Kids’ Pastor).
But here’s how it relates to hyper-driving the improvement of your ministry:
Instead of putting all the pressure on yourself or paid staff to come up with new ideas, use volunteers who are more passionate than you in certain areas.
For example, I thought of a volunteer who is really passionate about safety and security. I talked with her, and she had about 10 great suggestions right on the tip of her tongue.
There was another volunteer who is more passionate than me about our large group time. I spoke with him, and he had five great ideas just sitting there waiting to be drawn out. And I realized that making things better doesn’t, and shouldn’t, sit squarely on my shoulders.
When I allow others to flourish and operate in their passions and giftings, they can help improve our ministry so much more quickly than I ever could alone.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you with this:
- Write down the names of volunteers who you notice have a big passion for a certain area: safety/security, volunteer care, large group time, small group time, worship, decorating, etc.
- Go to each of those volunteers and ask them what they would suggest for your ministry to get better in [blank] area.
- Challenge and empower them to make those changes by giving them the authority, support and responsibility to do it.
- Act as their guardrails to make sure they are staying within the mission of your church and your ministry. Point them back the right direction if they are going the wrong way, and cheer them on if they’re hitting it out of the ballpark.
As I’ve started to do this, we’ve been making much more than one improvement every week, and it’s been amazing to see the transformation, not just in our church’s children’s ministry, but also in our volunteers!
How do you leverage your volunteers to improve your ministry?
This article originally appeared here.