Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Never Assume...

Assumptions cause all sorts of problems.  We have to learn to never assume.  There are people who simply will not think of things that you find very basic to ministry and on the other side of that, there will be things that others find very basic that will not even cross your mind as necessary.  For this reason, we have to be very specific about our plans and our programming.  We are all created differently and we will all find various things important...but when those things are not the same things we sometimes can have conflict.  What can we do?

My Dad, who is also a pastor, gave me a piece of advice early in my ministry.  He said, "It's not what you do, it's what they think you do."  Now this might seem like a pass to be lazy, but it's actually quite the opposite.  What it means is that people will only know about what they see you doing.  You may spend 40 hours a week in your office planning your services and preparing activities, but no one generally sees that part of your ministry.  If you are never seen outside of a service, the easy assumption is that you don't do anything.  How can you change that thinking?
        BE VISIBLE. You must promote what you are doing.  I don't mean that you need to toot your own horn to the congregation, but you need to be sure that the church leadership understands the work that you are doing.  That may simply mean putting your activities in your monthly report, but it may also mean inviting the Board members to attend a children's church service, or asking to be an active part in your church's Family Sunday Service.  Be visible in and around the community whenever possible as well.  Attending local events/fairs/activities is a great way to connect with new people as well as strengthening bonds with folks you know.  
        DELEGATE TASKS.  If you are doing everything, no one else will know what it takes to prepare a service, plan an event, or promote an activity.  It may seem simpler to just do the job yourself, but we are here to train others to do ministry, so share the responsibility.  Allow others to learn from you and you must be willing to learn from them as well.  They will do the job different than you and that's ok.  

For the following we will use a fundraiser lemonade stand as an example.

Be Specific...very specific
When you are making a plan, don't be general in your plans.  Generalizations can lead to assumptions.  If you say, "We're going to have a lemonade stand fundraiser in July," that might be all you need to promote to the church, but for your team you need a specific plan:
         Jan will buy the lemonade
         Mark is going to make the lemonade on Sunday morning and put it in the fridge to cool.
         Each week a different family will run the stand.  Mary is in charge of setting up that rotation.
         Max will see that the donation box is put in the safe each week for the counters. 
Now each part of the plan is in place and no one is wondering who is doing what for the fundraiser. Planning is very important, but be careful that you do not become a micro-manager.  Once you have delegated the task, let that person do the task their way.

Be sure everyone knows the plan
Plans are great, but if you don't share them, they are not much help.  Make sure everyone knows the plan for your fundraiser.  Mark may know he's to make the lemonade, but if he doesn't know that Jan is going to purchase it, he may buy is as well. If Max isn't aware of who is setting up the family rotations, he may send people who are willing to help to the wrong person.  Making sure everyone has all the information is incredibly important and can save all involved a lot of frustration.

We all have to work together in ministry, and the easiest way to do that is to keep the information stream going.  Never assume others know what you are thinking, planning, or doing.   

Until next week! 

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