By Jeremy Holbrook
You heard your favorite speakers, took pages of notes, even put stars by some of those notes, and learned methods that will help change your day-to-day rhythm in your ministry.
You’ve been given inspiration, information, and resources that have the high probability to not only change the culture of your ministry, but also impact your entire community for the Glory of Jesus.
So what comes next? What do we do now? I’d love to share with you four simple post-conference strategies that might help you take what you’ve learned from The Orange Conference 2016 and bring it home to sharpen your personal ministry that you oversee.
First things first: hug your family, tell them you missed them, and decompress . . . for a little while. The days and weeks that follow OC16 are crucial to implementing change:
1. Re-read your notes. There’s a reason you wrote down what you wrote down. God moved you to filter it as important. And although after many breakout sessions, and multiple main sessions you’ve heard so many good things, God chose to speak to you and your leadership abilities by providing tangible and strategic details that will return incredible results.
So look through your notes, separate the informational and inspirational quotes from the ACTION quotes. There’s a HUGE difference between things that motivate you and things that you might accomplish. Both are important, but one is internal whereas the other is external.
2. Develop an implementation timeline. Did you know that a 747 jet plane can only turn a few short degrees at a time? The reason is because if it turns too sharply, people flop out of their seats, babies scream (more than normal), and the oxygen masks deploy. So, if a 747 wants to make a 45-degree turn, they take it five degrees over a long period of time, rather than a sharp banking turn. The same can be true for ministry. After The Orange Conference, it would be easy to be so excited that you just want to get home, apply what you’ve learned by throwing away some “useless” programming and by inserting some life-changing strategy. And as much as I’d love to tell you to trash the handbell choir and start diving deep into the lead small focus, I do not advise you to do so overnight. Babies will cry, people will fall out of their seats, and they will need oxygen . . . and that will lead you to update your resume quickly for your next job search.
Here’s what I like to do:
- Find one change you can make over the next few months that will not cause major friction. It may be a simple change like a pre-service huddle with your ministry partners. Perhaps a small programming schedule change utilizing Feature Presentation, or Wonder videos. Or maybe it’s printing up the Small Talk Parent Cues, or printing up postcards that invite parents to download the Parent Cue App. Those are the kind of changes that require only a few degrees from your jet, but may provide HUGE outcomes.
- Pick three to five long-term changes over the next three years. These are the culture changing decisions such as developing a lead small culture, adding a new ministry element, service, or environment/facility upgrade. It’s something you’ll have to consistently focus on, train on, and speak the vision over and over to your ministry partners to achieve. Big changes often produce big results, so please make sure you take the time to build the foundation of the change—you need to include your ministry partners so they can be just as excited as you are.
3. Connect. It was no coincidence that the first slide of every breakout group or speaker gave us their Twitter handle. Connect with them, follow them, engage with them. If you enjoyed what they taught you in your 60-minute session, just imagine what you could learn by following their ministry methods online. Many leaders have websites, resource sites, and even videos that can help us improve our ministry.
Two years ago I attended the Live to Serve one-day training and brought a few ministry partners with me. I was blown away by the wisdom and approach of Adam Duckworth. So much so that I contacted him and set up an opportunity for him to be a bigger, more consistent voice of influence in my life and the life of my ministry. We set up a ministry coaching season, and, to this day, it is paying benefits for myself, my ministry partners, and the impact we have on our community.
4. Share. This may be more of a tag-on to number two on our list but it’s extremely important. The pilot of the 747 works on a team with the flight crew. He or she is never the only one knowing where the flight is headed. Ministry is the same. Communicate where you feel God is calling you to take the ministry—with the influential voices who are investing into the lives of the children or students of that ministry—and steer together. I’ve made the mistake of being a “Lone-Ranger” leader, and I truly wasn’t leading, I was just taking a walk in front of people. It takes the entire team working together to have maximum impact.
So check out your notes, re-visit what moved you; figure out what changes can be made and allow yourself some time to accomplish them, but challenge yourself to accomplish them on time. Connect with the leaders who inspired you and allow them to influence your processes; and share what inspired you with those who will walk beside you as you make changes and upgrades to your ministry!
We are praying for you as God leads you to be the influence of kids, students, and adults not only on Sunday mornings when they’re on your turf, but also as your focus on Monday mornings, when they’re knee deep in life on their home fields.
Jeremy Holbrook is the children’s pastor at Wildwood Church of God. You can connect with him on Twitter.