7 Practices of Effective Ministry Book Study, Part 4

by Carmen Kamrath

In Part One of our book study on 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, Ray learned a lot from baseball team owner, Pete Harlan, about the 7 Practices. In Part Two of this book, we become challenged to put the Practices into action in our ministries.

Winner, Winner; Chicken Dinner
Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. In sports, this is obvious as fans rally behind their teams when they’re on a winning streak. Unfortunately, the world of sports has a lot of fair weather fans, as does the church. When things are going well, we pack the house; but when our weekly attendance drops, people become nervous and believe somehow we’re “losing” and attendance becomes sporadic.

Just because folks walk through our doors doesn’t guarantee they’re growing in their faith. So, do we measure a win by numbers or by life change? Leaders in your church need to communicate a clear, common language of what a “win” is for your church and all ministries need to be aligned with it. Baseball teams win world championships not because one player put up big numbers on the scoreboard; they bring home the trophy because the entire team worked together to make sure their team had the most points on the scoreboard at the end of the game. Is your team working together to get that ministry “win”?

One Step at a Time
When kids start learning how to play baseball, they start with the basics. It may be playing catch with dad in the backyard or hitting ball after ball off of a “T” to see if they can crank one over the fence. Kids learn the basics about baseball first—hitting and throwing. As they grow in their skills, they learn more about game and strategies for success. They may dream someday of making it to the big league, but they have to work some steps to get there first.

Ministries need to also create simple steps to reach their goal. Determine where you want people to be and how you’re going to get them there. Then, create steps that are obvious, easy and strategic. Leaders working together in ministry rather than departmentalizing the church will create a synergy that easily and naturally moves people toward your “win.”

The Narrow Road
Baseball pitchers have to learn to throw with precision to hit the strike zone. They can throw lots of fancy curve balls or balls with a lot of speed. But it’s those that hit the strike zone that will most likely get their team the win.

Ministries also need to learn to concentrate in areas where they’ll make the greatest impact. Andy Stanley said, “Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing,” (p. 100). When ministries learn to focus, they’ll gain higher quality, greater relevance, greater connection and more impact.

The Orange Connection
Orange encourages leaders to work together in ministry. We want to align our ministries so we can have the greatest impact on reaching young people for Jesus. When we integrate and synchronize our strategies, we’re putting these first three Practices into action in our ministries.

Think on This
How can you creatively communicate the “win” to your volunteer team? The people in your church and community? Work with your team to create a simple roadmap to your “win.” Then, look at what barriers you need to consider eliminating to assure the path is easy and clear.

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Orange Leaders
The Orange Group is a gathering of leaders who are passionate about engaging churches and families to influence the faith and character of the next generation. Contributors include some of the most widely respected thought-leaders in children’s ministry, including Reggie Joiner, Sue Miller, Kendra Fleming, Jim Wideman, and Bre Hallberg. New blog entries, podcasts, webcasts, and video downloads are available every week to help you keep leading yourself and growing with your team.