The real “A” word—administrative. As soon as I say it, you’re quick to place yourself in one category or another:
- “Oh, that’s totally me!” Or,
- “Nope, that’s definitely not my deal.”
In fact, the latter of the two negates the significance of it all together . . . the significance of the administrative.
You know the types—the ones who get excited to build a new spreadsheet or have a completed checklist for every project. Our non-administrative friends . . . well, their To-Do list looks like this:
1. Make a To-Do list.
We’re so quick to put ourselves in an either/or category, when maybe it’s a both/and. By understanding how we’re wired, setting realistic expectations, and seeking out the right people and systems, we can have a ministry that’s equipped for long-term, sustainable growth.
How are you wired? Ministry can be such a highly creative field to work in that we often dismiss administrative tasks as not nearly as important. Are you the creative one? Full of new visions and ideas, ready to take on the next big project?
The truth is, ministry can’t be done well without the order required to complete the actual ideas. So, how do we do that? Here are a few ways you can execute your ministry successfully:
1. Elevate the “why”
In a world full of Myers-Briggs, Right-Path, and Enneagrams, we’re quick to dismiss a task. You know, “I’m an 11. I just don’t thrive when sweeping the floor.”
There are things we’re just going to have to do and we need to get over it. If we can focus on the why behind the task, it makes it way easier to complete.
Early on as a children’s pastor, I’d get bogged down with seemingly meaningless administrative tasks. Things like updating our database or cutting out little angel wings needed for the preschool lessons. I’d get frustrated until I stopped and thought about the purpose.
Every name I entered into that Excel spreadsheet was a family we had prayed for. By keeping up with their information, I knew we’d be able to connect with them on a personal level.
And every angel wing I cut was part of a picture—one that declared the Good News of Jesus.
When I focused on the why, it was a whole lot harder for me to be frustrated.
2. Be realistic
What tasks do you need to do that you’re putting off? I’m willing to bet that the time it’ll take to do the task is actually less than the time you’ve spent dreading the actual task.
I play this game with my daughter. She hates unloading the dishwasher. (I mean, who can blame her, right?)
One day, she was obsessively complaining about the dishwasher. I asked her how long she thought it took her to do this chore. She assumed it took at least an hour. So, I timed her. And it took her eight minutes. Eight minutes to do a task that she had complained about all day.
It may seem silly, but next time you’re faced with a task only you can do that you really don’t want to do, time yourself. You’ll probably be surprised how much time and/or mental energy you could have saved by just getting it over with as quickly as possible.
3. Know what only you can do
I want you to do this—write down all the things you do for your job. I know it’s a long list and I know it’s going to take some time. But it’s important.
Now, I want you to put a star by the tasks that only you can do.
Then, place a checkmark beside all of the things you love doing. These are the things that fill you up. You need to be doing these things. These are the things God created you to do.
Lastly, circle the tasks that are draining the life out of you.
Think of everything you do falling in two buckets: the things you love, and the things you loathe. The goal is to be balanced. When you’re balanced, you’re in your sweet spot. You’re getting things done and loving what you’re doing. If you’re doing more things that you loathe than you love, you’re never going to operate at your highest capacity.
4. Find the people
Are you ready for me to blow your mind? There are people in this world who love doing the things you hate doing! And it’s very likely they’re sitting at home, wishing they could be part of something bigger than themselves.
Recruit a volunteer or pay someone a few hours a week to do some of those tasks that weigh you down.
My ministry grew because I found the people who loved doing what I didn’t and couldn’t do with the limited time I had. There was no way this ministry could grow if it were bound by what only I could do. At one point in my ministry, I was totally overwhelmed—I had a two-year-old and a baby. I’d try and go to the store to buy all the supplies I needed for the month, but by the time I got my kids in the cart, I had enough time and energy to get one week’s.
Then I had this amazing woman step forward. She had two kids in elementary and worked full-time during the week. She wanted to help, but teaching a class on Sundays was more of a commitment than she could give.
So she offered to shop for me. She’d go buy all the materials I needed for a month and then . . . wait for it . . . she organized my entire closet, put all the stuff away, and then pulled everything I needed each week.
She was my saving grace.
5. Find the system
There are a lot of systems out there to help with organization and checklists. Search “to-do lists” in your App store and you’re going to be immediately overwhelmed. Add that to the fact that we may not always know what our next to-do should be.
Meet Weekly. This may sound like a commercial, but I promise it’s not meant to.
Weekly is a digital resource for your parents and small group leaders. It sends weekly emails to your parents, schedules social media, cues small group leaders on how they can connect with their few, and so, so much more.
Guess what? Every time I look at Weekly, I think to myself, “Gosh, I wish I had this when I led a ministry.” I promise it’s that good.
I can’t promise that you’ll never have to sweep the floors, run out for another bag of cotton balls, or fill out an Excel spreadsheet, but maybe you’ll look at those administrative tasks a little differently.