by Cara Martens
Small confession: I’m kind of hooked on the game Candy Crush. Let’s just be honest, this isn’t an article about time management.
Candy Crush is a pretty simple game—you match up rows of candy, and then move on to the next level. On some levels you may have to clear the board in a certain amount of time, or get a certain amount of points.
The other day, as I was playing, I was busy racking up points and doing great—until I realized that I had missed the point of that level. It didn’t matter how many points I had, I needed to clear all the jelly. Which makes no sense to someone who hasn’t played the game, but perfect sense to someone who has been captured by the simplicity of this game. The point is, I missed how to win the level.
It got me thinking, how many times do we do this in our own ministries? We are working so hard at having the coolest looking environment, the perfect movie clip, just the right question, or the cutest craft, that we sometimes forget what the goal really is. We lose sight of the vision. Or maybe we have just never defined what a clear win really looks like in our ministry.
Do your volunteers know what a win looks like when they leave on Sunday morning? If they don’t, then they may leave your ministry, tired, discouraged and burned out. It’s hard when you are changing diapers all morning. A win to your volunteer may be not getting spit up on . . . but maybe we need to redefine this. Maybe a win in the nursery should be the fact that you are giving these babies a first glimpse of their loving heavenly Father. Wow, that’s a big deal!
Or maybe you work with a small group of 2nd and 3rd grade boys. Your win? Pure survival. Maybe this should be redefined. Maybe a win with your small group boys is helping them develop an everyday faith. A faith that helps them to think about the way they apply truth to their everyday circumstances.
Maybe you work with students, and a win for you is just trying to understand what in the world your 10th grade boys are talking about or why your 9th grade girls are crying . . . again. Your win, is the passion that you are developing in them, the desire to not just go to church, but be the Church.
Author Brian Tracy says: “A goal or objective that is not in writing is merely a wish or fantasy. It has no energy behind it. Unwritten goals lead to confusion, vagueness, and misdirection. . . . ” (Eat That Frog! p. 11)
Next time you meet with your team, try taking these steps toward clarifying your wins!
STEP 1: Try this with your team, “I’m going to say an age group, ministry area, event, or program. After I say one, I want you to write on your card what you think the overall goal of it is. Don’t look at anyone else’s answer. When you’re done, cover up your answer. Then when everyone is finished, flip the card over for everyone to read. We’ll look around the table and discuss what we notice.”
STEP 2: Did you know that only about three percent of adults have clear, written-down goals? What’s really amazing is that research shows that those who write down their goals and share them with a friend are 33 percent more likely to achieve those goals than those who merely formulated goals.
STEP 3: Did you know that there’s also something called the 10/90 rule? For every minute you spend planning, you can save up to ten minutes in execution later. Taking it even further, if you take just 10 to 12 minutes as a team once a week to revisit what you’re doing as age groups or in ministry areas, and also look at the goals for upcoming events and programs, you could save up to two hours of sideways work!
Take a glance at the calendar and think through your upcoming events or programs across the age groups and in other areas of family ministry. How can you make sure that your main goals are to move people relationally into more of a community and to take another step in their spiritual journey?
Clear wins make all the difference. When we know what the end result should be, we are more encouraged by the small increments we deposit to move us one step closer to the goal.