Thursday, April 8, 2010

Building Your Ministry, part two - How to Love on Your Team

Click to read part one - What Your Team Really Needs from You.

In developing a new ministry or in building up a ministry that's already running, a team of committed volunteers (and/or staff) are needed to make things happen. Finding people to join your team may not be as difficult as you think (but that's for another post on another day); but keeping people committed to the team, the ministry, you (their leader), and of course to the work God is doing through the ministry - well that task, it takes hard work!

I hope that my story (in part one) convinced you that the key to keeping your team committed is to make them feel loved. But those of us who are married, we have surely learned some difficult lessons about how difficult it can be to make someone feel loved (even if we do truly love that person).

You see, loving someone is not about me having feelings of love towards that person. Rather, it is about me finding ways to show love to that person - ways that he or she understand and feel my love.

I believe there are three keys to making your team members feel loved. Today, we'll sit a while on the first point.

#1 - Invest Time:

Do you remember your best friend in high school? Chances are good that people often referred to you as "attached at the hip." You did everything and went everywhere together. There was little doubt in either of your minds that you loved one another. The same can be said of our children, spouses, adult friendships. Time spent together is time well spent.

I asked the Lord how I could help the women on my team feel loved, and He clearly told me to invest my time in them. When I asked how I could possibly invest personal time in each of 7 women, our creative God gave me idea after idea...

- I began to set aside one morning per week (with the exception of busy weeks) to invite one of the women from my team over for coffee and a visit. We would spend about 2 hours just chattin' it up. (Obviously, this only worked for those on my team who were at home like me. With those who worked, it would need to be an evening coffee. For me, that took a bit more juggling and we needed to plan it further in advance, but it was always worth the time spent.) --> time spent, 2 hours per week

- If I thought of a woman on my team, I would quickly stop and take a minute to pray for her. Then I would take one more minute to email her, just letting her know that she was in my thoughts and prayers. --> time spent, 2 minutes a couple times per week

- Normally, while doing housework I would find myself in need of a distraction to help get it done (isn't that always the case?). Most often I would call my best friend, my mom, or my hubby to chat while I worked. I decided to replace one of those phone calls each week with a call to someone on my team. I don't know that my "regulars" ever even noticed that I was calling one less time, or if they did I'm sure they were appreciative of having one less distraction! --> time spent, none (because it was already being spent)

- Do you ever get out for a girls' night? My wish is to do it once per month, but the reality is it happens when it happens. I began inviting someone from my team out with my girlfriends and I for girls' night. --> time spent, none

- I usually attended our weekly women's Bible study and our weekly women's coffee group, not only because I was the women's ministry leader, but because I enjoyed the growth and fellowship. While at those events, I made a point of seeking out the women who attended that were also on my team and spending some time visiting with them. Some days, we would sit together the whole time. --> time spent, none

You get the point... Overall, I only increased my "workload" by a mere 2 hours and 6 minutes (roughly) per week. And after the first few weeks -which felt slightly awkward at times - my weekly coffee date morphed into a vital part of my social life.

Another interesting thing happened - the girls out at girls' night grew in numbers, until there were more "ministry girls" than other girlfriends. And wouldn't you guess, many of those "regular" girlfriends got so excited about all that they were hearing that they joined us in leading women's ministry!

Before anyone comes at me with the argument that work is work and we shouldn't have to "make friends" with the people we work with, let me say two quick things. First, ministry is not just "work." Ministry is God's work, and it is also (very often) unpaid volunteer work. Doing ministry is completely different from being out in the work force. (Not that I necessarily think it should be. The working world could probably learn a thing or two from the ministry world.)

Second, if you take a quick journey through the Bible and look at any good leaders you will find that the people they "worked" with LOVED them - they were friends. A few examples for you include: Moses and Aaron (also brothers, but hey), Joshua and Caleb, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and His disciples, Paul and Barnabus (until they disagreed), Paul and Timothy. These ministry partners didn't simply work together - they lived, travelled, and did life together. They were more than mere co-workers; they were friends.

Key points #2 and #3 on How to Love on Your Team coming soon...

Just a small word of explanation...

Throughout this series, you will hear me frequently use terminology such as "my team" and "my ministry." Please, do not misunderstand my heart based on semantics! There has never been any doubt in my mind that the women's ministry I had the privilege of being a part of belonged wholly to God. It was and is His ministry. Just as the team of women He brought together formed His team.

The use of the word "my" is to draw a clear word picture - that the ministry God called me to lead was born in my heart - just as "my" children were born of my body, though I know and acknowledge that they belong to the King of Kings and He has simply entrusted them to my care for a time. As a leader, there is an element of responsibility towards your ministry and your team. "My" does not denote ownership, but an entrustment.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. ~Luke 12:48b (NLT)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I am so glad you stopped by! My hope is that we can engage in a conversation together. I love to reply to your comments, but I need your help to make that happen.

If you have a blogger profile, would you consider editing your profile to "show my email address?" Then, when I receive your comment in my email inbox, I can reply directly to you.

Alternately, you can check the box "email follow up comments to..." so that I can reply to you right here. (You will also receive other readers' comments using this method.)

I'm excited to get to know you better!