When we move and act as one, we validate the gospel to the world. -John 17:23
There's a reason why people in church ministry burn out faster than just about any other vocation... Isolation. Not enough meaningful connections with those to whom we minister and too few real relationships with those in ministry around us.
Next to an infusion of guidance from the Holy Spirit, what we need the most is togetherness. Time spent getting to know each other, encountering God, encouraging, rebuilding, and empowering each other for ministry and for life.
It's not an easy fix, but every small step in that direction counts.
So what can we do right now to foster true community among our ministry staffs? These five ideas just might reconnect and recharge.
One: The Obvious
Face time... and not just at staff meetings or rehearsals or for ministry matters. Be strategic about carving out even 15 minutes of your week to get to the heart of the matter with the people who minister alongside you. Maybe it's over coffee. Maybe it's a walk around the church property. Maybe it's your office door staying open for part of the day. Maybe it's not composing that email or text but, instead, dropping by to present the idea in person.
Two: The Not-So-Obvious, Obvious
At the heart of all ministry fails is one central theme: poor communication. Check your ego at the door and get an objective opinion about your own communication style and habits. Negativity, inability to vision cast, delegate, encourage your team and/or productively confront issues or incompetence as such arise... poor communication can cripple talent and enthusiasm in one fell swoop. If you're lacking in this area, be wise enough to own it, to learn new ways to effectively communicate and to use the power of your words to build better relationships.
Three: Out of the Box
Community building and creativity are like arm-wrestling. You can't have a match without both sides present. If you're not a creative person, seek out someone on your staff and ask him or her to come up with one completely left-of-center team-building activity, small service project or outing per quarter. Twice a year, even. Life-changing moments, especially for those of us in the vocation of changing lives, happen when people get outside the status quo.
Four: Power Source
Any life-giving ministry needs a power source, the prayers of faithful believers who intercede on its behalf. Not long ago, a young worship leader shared how he'd felt his church dying for a long time, but he knew it was really dead when a special prayer meeting was called for intercession over an important matter sure to impact the future of the church. He and three elderly women showed up to pray - - out of hundreds of members. Not even the pastor was there. Gather your team weekly and give them a specific reason to pray for you, and ask them to do the same. Follow up and make prayer a top priority, and the unity among your team will grow exponentially.
Five: The Treasure Map
Google your zip code + the word 'churches,' and look to the right at the red dots that pop up on the map. You might be surprised to see how 'not alone' you are in ministry. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of amazing men and women who have accepted the call to ministry and struggle with the same challenges you face, week in, week out. Some of them have likely solved a problem you've been racking your brain to fix. Some of them could benefit from your wisdom and experience. Consider that map for what it is: a treasure, a wealth of connectivity and mutual passion for Jesus just waiting to be shared. Reaching out across denominations, across traditions, and across the street could be the most revolutionary thing your church staff has ever tried, but it is worship in action.
One-Thru-Five... All At Once
There are hundreds of conferences and workshops around the country to 'teach' and 'refresh' you in ministry, but there's no substitute for building community among those in ministry around you.
That's what "The Community Conference" is all about: making connections with people just like you, church leaders in the trenches week after week, and building relationships that inform and encourage you into the future.
Don't miss the one conference that can help you make those invaluable connections for the ministry of a lifetime.
To learn more, go to http://thecommunityconference.com.
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