Michael Hyatt recently featured a guest blog post from J. D. Meier entitled 10 Proven Practices for More Productive Leadership. While Meier’s practices target a marketplace audience, I think they are applicable to the ministry leader as well.
1. Know what problem you are trying to solve. While this sounds obvious and simplistic, it is a practice that often gets lost in knee-jerk reactions. Case in point: You’ve just completed your annual stewardship emphasis and there simply isn’t enough money pledged to meet the budget. The knee-jerk reaction is thinking that people aren’t giving enough, but the real problem may be that you simply need more people. Potential solutions for those two problems are quite different!
2. Get smart people on a cadence. Meier offers this model: Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection.
- On Monday the team identifies three wins for the week.
- Each day the team identifies three wins for the day.
- On Friday they reflect on the results by asking two questions: What are three things going well? and What are three things to improve?
This creates a momentum for recognizing glitches before they become train wrecks. It also provides balance between celebration of what’s going well and realistic recognition of what needs to be improved.
3. Set boundaries and buffers. Early in my ministry leadership experience I had three volunteers come to me within a couple months and say, “I’m done. I quit. I’m totally exhausted.” Each one was recognized as a high-capacity leader and had served on one committee or team after another. Two of them left the church. I vowed that I would do all I could to see that no volunteer ever came to me again exhausted and burned out. Boundaries are essential.
In my current role in a much smaller congregation, it is often necessary for a volunteer to serve in more than one role, even on two different teams. The buffer I use when creating the master schedule is that no volunteer serves in more than one capacity on any given Sunday.
4. Lead with your why. Meier rightly states that the key to great results is passion plus purpose. A critical question to ask, then, is “Why do I do what I do?” Figure out the why and, if you realize that your ministry is all work and no joy, re-visit key #1 before going on to key #5!
5. Give your best where you have your best to give. It is absolutely essential to joyful ministry that you and your volunteers know how God has uniquely designed each person to serve. When our roles align with our design–in other words, when we serve out of our strengths–work becomes fulfilling and fruitful. For example, positioning the introvert at the church door to greet guests is not honoring their God-given design. Within five minutes, they are exhausted from the effort of making small talk and are no longer offering a smiling welcome as people arrive!
Keys 6 through 10 in tomorrow’s post…