by Joe McAlpine
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” -Dale Carnegie
I recently received a really cool email. It went like this:
I was a visitor at your church this last week. I wanted to say that my family had a great time. We were hesitant to come to church at first. We are new to the area, and at our last church we got completely burnt out. The leadership at our last church was always so serious. We were scared about being the less than perfect people that we are because we didn’t want to disappoint anyone. We were always concerned about people not taking Jesus seriously because of our laid back atmosphere so we made things pretty strict. It was exhausting.
When we drove onto your campus I knew something was different. We were first greeted by a smiling parking lot attendant who was obviously having a GREAT time directing cars. She was laughing, dancing and waving at everyone as she directed people to their parking spots. From the very moment we arrived, we knew that your church was different.
Please convey to that parking attendant that you know of at least one family that chose to make your church home because of her. It is so nice to be able to be real at church again!
I quickly grabbed a Starbucks gift card and sent it to that awesome volunteer. That is, hands down, the impression we want people to have when they come to our church.
Culture in your place of ministry isn’t really an option. The culture in your areas of oversight will happen whether you navigate it or not. The real question is, do you have a handle on what you want the culture of your ministry to be?
If you show me a church culture that isn’t focused on fun, then I can show you a church culture that is dull and most likely not hitting its full potential. When leaders focus on creating environments that are focused on fun, the doors of possibility are opened to anything you want to do. When people are having fun in what they are doing they are more passionate, more creative, and most importantly more open to hear the voice of God in their life.
Fun has always been in the core values of every ministry I have ever led. Sure, I have gotten push back on that from time to time. Fun is a non-negotiable, though. I won’t budge on the idea of not having fun in our areas of ministry. So, how do you create a culture of fun? Check out these ideas below:
- Stop worrying about what people will think. Honestly, if you are worried about people getting upset that fun is a priority then you aren’t having fun. Throw a bit of caution to the wind!
- Celebrate fun. When you celebrate the qualities you want to see in the spotlight of your culture they will be reproduced. Celebrate the volunteers and people that know how to have fun in your ministry.
- Ask people about fun. Not sure if people are having a good time? Ask them! Ask questions like, “Are you having fun? What would make your job more fun?”
- Don’t mistake having fun for not being serious about the mission. We have fun BECAUSE we are serious about the mission.
- Allow fun to promote relationship. When people are having fun, it is inevitable that they will grow closer in relationship. I have said many times before that relationship is the key to communicating vision. Anything that promotes relationship will strengthen your ministry.
We would love to hear from you in the comments below. What are ways that you make your ministry areas fun for the people that serve? How has that fun environment strengthened the ministry?
Joe is the Pastor of Share at Northbrook Church. Northbrook is a growing church just outside of Milwaukee, WI. He has been in ministry for over a decade, serving in staff leadership at churches ranging in attendance from 500 to 7,000.