20 lessons learned in 20 years

some of the most effective ministry lessons are learned from mistakes and in-the-trenches ministry experiences. if you are new in ministry, here are some tips from someone with 20 full-time years of kids ministry experience to help you avoid pitfalls and burnout in ministry. 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-11-32-34-am1 – the Gospel is the goal
– you are not a cruise director.
– it is not about you.
– the Gospel changes lives for eternity, you don’t.
– families can get moral lessons from books or the side of a fast food container. morals aren’t what we are after, the Gospel is.

2 – know where you are going
– figure out where you are going before you begin.
– make sure everything you put on the calendar and in the budget has the end in mind.
– keeping the end in mind helps you avoid detours and stick to an eternal itinerary.
– a finish line filter helps you say no.
     * do you have a ministry vision statement that can serve as a guide and filter for where you are going?

3 – quality vs quantity
– “you can’t do a million things to the glory of God.” beth moore
– a few well-planned, successful events are better than many half hearted, poorly planned events.
– families are busy. when you ask for their time be prepared — make it Gospel-centered and make it count.
colossians 3:23 – “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human
masters,”

4 – realize you haven’t arrived
– you don’t know all there is to know about ministry
– you aren’t the greatest thing to hit the ministry world. people have been in the trenches long before you.
– make sure you always have a teachable spirit.
– listen more than you talk.
     * when is the last time you really listened to what God is doing in someone else’s life and ministry?

5 – strategically surround yourself
– make sure your staff/leadership team are strong in the areas where you are weak.
– a well thought out team makes a more successful team.
– allow your team to make you better. (can you take corrective criticism?)
* what type of person is your ministry team missing?

6 – partner with parents
– parent champions – the first thing i did in a transition was create a parent champion team to evaluate and make a plan
to move forward. read more about that here.
– make sure these parents will be prayerfully honest with you and are not just “yes” men and women.
– parents help share your heart and vision with their peers, thus having a greater impact.

7 – target the family (there are 168 hours in a week. you may have the kids for one or two hours. target
the family for maximum kingdom growth.)
– what are you doing to reach the family as a whole?
– family worship (teaching like Jesus taught)
learn more about that here.
– make sure to build a bridge from church to home.
* what takeaways are you giving families to talk through at home?

screen8 – ministry to children and families with special needs
– educate yourself and your team.
– be prepared before the first family arrives. (policies, space, intake forms, volunteers, etc.)
– provide quality, Christ-centered care

9communicate
– communicate often through various channels. (constant contact, mail chimp, remind, facebook, instagram, twitter, ifttt, blog, snail mail, etc.)
– just when you think you are bugging people, they are just getting the message. they need to see the message seven
different times.
– if you are getting questions or have to have a FAQ section, have you really effectively communicated?sabbath

10 – sabbath
Luke 5:16 – “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
– Jesus made time alone a priority, do you?
– an empty vessel has nothing to give

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-1-22-25-pm

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