When it comes to change, often the hardest thing to change is yourself. In the next three chapters of 7 Practices for Effective Ministry, Ray discovers that the remaining three practices require a personal change—which isn’t always easy to do.
Can You Hear Me Now?
As ministry leaders, we often think we’re pretty good listeners. But in Practice #5, leaders are challenged to listen in a new way. We know part of our responsibility as ministry leaders is to listen to people in our church—but do we listen to those outside of our church? And, to stretch you even more, listening not to their questions but instead, listening to them for the answers we’re seeking. If we become so inward in who we listen to (those already attending our church), then we lose touch with reaching those who don’t attend church.
One of the challenges with this practice is that we have to admit we don’t always have the answer. And seeking answers from those outside of the church can ruffle some feathers. Are you listening to maintain the status quo or are you listening to gain a greater piece of the “market share?”
The Farm Team
Like Ray, a lot of ministry leaders get a little paranoid when you mention “replace yourself,” especially in today’s economy. Obviously, no one wants to think about losing their job, but that’s not the true intent of Practice #6—Replace Yourself. Reality is; this practice should make your role easier. Building and growing people as apprentices, to do what you do and do it well, will lighten your stress and load. It assures that excellence will continue—even after you’ve left the building.
Practice #7 goes beyond working the day-to-day tasks, “Work On It” is about observing, evaluating, and processing what you’re doing to make things better—to get to the next level. This practice needs to be something you do so regularly it becomes part of your routine. Then, when things are put into action and are successful, it’s time to party! Take time to recognize when things go well, when your team has a “win,” or when goals are met.
The Orange Connection
Orange encourages leaders to think beyond the families that are already connected in your church, to be intentional about creating and offering positive experiences for families who may not normally be comfortable in a church setting. And Orange also realizes the influence others can have on the lives of children and students. It goes beyond the children’s or youth pastor; the greatest influences are significant adults—small group leaders and parents—who can together make a lasting impact in the lives of young people.
Think On This
What are the barriers that would make it difficult for you to apply these last three principles in your ministry? What are the qualities, talents, or skills you need in people who can help you in your ministry role? What area of ministry will you commit to evaluating this week? What “wins” can you celebrate with your team this week?