Six years ago I moved back to Clarksville to become the “Family Pastor” at Grace Community Church. When I arrived I brought with me a year of children’s ministry experience and 9 years of investing in teenagers and zero seconds of leading an entire family ministry. I remember sitting in my office wondering what I was really supposed to do. This was a new idea and I had come into this position asking to help create a team from preschool to college that would partner with families and reach the next generation because I had seen Reggie Joiner pull it off at North Point and it all made perfect ministry sense. We pushed forward with the dream and I began to experiment with what family ministry might look like here in our context.
Six years later I am heading to staff meeting and I will get to look around at a family ministry staff that loves reaching the next generation and partnering with families. I have made ton of mistakes over the years because we are a culture that values innovation and risk, but in time we have shaped a family ministry structure that works in our context. If you are now the family pastor or next generation pastor and you are trying to figure out what being the team leader of a family ministry staff looks likes here are 5 keys to the process…
- Empower Staff and Volunteers // Your greatest goal should be to take the spotlight off yourself and shine it on other incredible staff and volunteers that join your cause. You role as a family pastor is to give ministry away to other leaders and allow them to shine! Empower them, listen to them, and do ministry together. Family Ministry is about team.
- Encourage Innovation // As the team leader you have to consistently be willing to allow your staff and volunteers to take innovative risks and be willing to shelter them from the worry of failure. If an idea doesn’t work your team needs to know you will help them know what is next. Everyone will learn, and then everyone will move forward because you are a leader who encourages innovation.
- Don’t Just Copy…Create // Just because a program or practice works at another church does not mean it will work for your ministry. You have to help every leader on your team know that it’s great to learn from everyone but every idea has to go through the creative process to make it work in your context.
- Build a Team // From the first day you take the team leader role you have to have a staffing plan in mind for the future. Staff with volunteers or with paid staff but no matter what always be building your team. Family pastors that miss this burn out and leave the role. You can’t do everything.
- Protect the Vision // This means on occasion you will have to say NO. You will have to say no to pressure from new church attenders from other churches with great ideas for you. You will have to say no to volunteers on occasion who like the past a little too much. You will have to say no to other staff because they want to go a direction that doesn’t help reach the next generation or partner with parents. You have to say no if you want to protect the vision!
This week is Orange Bloggers week and I want have some exciting news for you today. This year at the Orange Conference we are hosting a Family Pastor / Next Gen Pastor track where you can connect with other leaders trying to lead family ministry teams. Check out the track info here and join us at the conference!