In church staff ministry, there are several tensions at play. One, your ministry is a response, and recognized as a call to ministry. There is a place in the church for you to use your calling and gifts to build and invest in the kingdom of God. As a result of answering this call, you are part of God’s team!
Second, once you have taken personality assessments, you have discovered your strengths and maybe just a little more about yourself in the process. But most importantly you’ve discovered, you’re the perfect fit for this ministry position.
Finally, you have the responsibility to recruit, develop, and train a team to help you in your ministry. So, this puts you in the role of a team leader. Your responsibility becomes to create a good culture where team members collaborate and support each other. Ministry is not the place to be a “Lone Ranger”. (Remember, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!)
There’s a saying that gets tossed around a lot these days: “stay in your lane.” Think about this phrase in the realm of driving a car. We encounter people weaving in and out of their lanes, people who might swerve into your lane (driving while texting or talking on their phone, perhaps). You get the idea. These drivers are not staying in their lane. As ministry leaders (staff or volunteers), we can find it easy to drift or swerve into others’ lanes. Sometimes we do this intentionally and other times we do it unintentionally.
So, how do we keep from venturing into other ministry leaders’ lanes? Robins (2017) tells us:
1. Improve your communication as an organization (yes, your church is an organization) and how, when, and how often you communicate with the team members (paid and volunteers).
2. Get buy-in on the vision. Seek, ask, and listen to what your team members are saying about the vision of your ministry.
3. Celebrate the wins! Everyone loves a party! Celebrate a great week in ministry attendance, an incredible VBS, a family joining your church, or a baptism. Share the good news with the whole team and celebrate together.
4. Schedule some fun into your ministry. Bring moments of laughter to your staff meetings (it doesn’t always have to be about business). Bring in a surprise “treat” for everyone on the team. Express appreciation and thanks to your team members with “thinking of you” token gifts.
Harris (2020) reminds us, “Know your assigned lane. Weaving in and out of the lane causes role confusion.” If your ministry assignment is leading children’s ministries, stay focused on this ministry.
If your role in the life of the church is being a volunteer in a children’s classroom, stay focused on your ministry. Stay in your lane, know your role and responsibilities. If you don’t know what lane you should be operating in, seek clarification and be clear about the lanes.
Harris (2020) also reminds us, “Speaking of lanes and races, it is worth reminding that our service is not a sprint to finish. It is more like a marathon working diligently to advance a mission and goals.” Ministry has its moments to cry, celebrate, and carry each other’s burdens. The good news is, you’re part of a team. You don’t have to cry, celebrate, or carry your burdens alone.
If you find yourself alone, then it’s time to take a look at the lane you’re driving in. Have you swerved or ventured into a lane you’re not supposed to be in? It just may be time to pull over, catch your breath, say a prayer, grab hold of the steering wheel and venture back out there—in the right lane. Your team will be there waiting and cheering you on at the finish line!
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