For those of you in ministry, it may often feel as if your job is to manage the chaos. In our new book, Don’t Quit, Gina and I give you practical solutions to combat the crazy and endure the marathon race that is ministry.
Recently, Gina and I spoke with Nick Blevins about the whys and hows of sticking it out in ministry.
To listen now, click here.
To purchase Don’t Quit, click here.
Just a few weeks ago, Don’t Quit, the book I coauthored with Gina McClain, released on Amazon. The response we’ve received has been overwhelming. When we started the process, we wanted to write something that would not only inspire ministry leaders to stick with it for the long run, but also give them practical tips to make the journey easier.
Last week in an interview on The Kids Ministry Collective Podcast, Gina and I discussed many of the topics we wrote about in the book. I hope you’ll take just a few moments to check it out.
Click here to listen now.
Click here to purchase Don’t Quit!
If you’ve ever found yourself a member of a united, successful team, you know it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that clicks. It just feels right. On the other hand, have you ever been on a team that just couldn’t collaborate? For whatever reason the scoreboard was never in your favor, the project never found completion, or a consensus of strategy was never established. In these instances, it’s much easier to identify foundational cracks: lack of communication, no discipline, no accountability, no vision.
The product of time and consistency is unity. The best teams in the world didn’t start out being the best. It took time to develop trust, to recognize and appreciate team dynamics, and to gain confidence as a group. However, as a leader there are a few steps you can take to hasten unity and accelerate trust.
- Communication limits mistakes. When training leaders I often say, “You will never regret increased clarity. Over communicate if necessary, but never assume your teammates understand.” I’m not suggesting a weekly two page informative email is the catch all to your problems, but the more clarity you gain as a team, the more success you will find.
- Loyalty must be shown mutually. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m with you all the way!” Only to have them depart your team two weeks later. It’s incredibly frustrating. In the past I blamed the fickleness of people in general. However, over time I’ve realized most people who walk away do so because they didn’t feel their loyalty was reciprocated. Your team has to believe you will crawl through the trenches and leap over the hurdles alongside them.
- Put your team before yourself. When you’re the leader it’s easy to use your position to campaign your ideas, convince others of their validity, and influence strategy. Before you buck around in the china shop, stop, listen, and consider others’ thoughts and ideas. Your personal agenda has to be set aside for the benefit of the team.
- Team discipline unifies your effort towards your goal. Set standards, deadlines, and targets. Then hold each other accountable. Without control and restraint, chaos reigns. Disorder breeds confusion and confusion is the beginning of the end. Your team should set clear expectations of one another and be willing to speak up when those expectations are not being met. A disciplined team is a confident team.
- Success must be attained and celebrated together. No one is successful independently. There is a reason why award speeches are long. Your team must learn to rely on and rejoice together as victories are attained. Celebrating success creates a winning attitude.
- Keep the vision out front. God has placed everyone on your team for a reason. Calling trumps ability every day of the week. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:37,“…in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Your greatest tool, your secret weapon, the thing that sets your team apart is a heavenly father who created you and believes in you. Never discount calling when calculating success. Keep the vision God gave you out front at all times.
You may not be familiar with the name Pat Head Summitt, but if you’re from any state within the SEC Conference, you know who she is. Pat Head Summitt holds the record for the most wins of any coach in NCAA basketball history of either men’s or women’s teams in any division. She coached the Tennessee Lady Vols for 38 seasons, won 1,098 games, and never had a losing season. She’s also ranked number 11 on the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time, the only female on the list. In short…she’s the best. When asked about teamwork she said, “With a combination of practice and belief, the most ordinary team is capable of extraordinary things.”
Your team doesn’t have to consist of all-stars. Hard work, passion, and discipline are enough to achieve most goals. Strategies change, vision does not. Motivate your team with positivity. Speak to their passions. Hold them accountable. Most importantly, keep the vision at the forefront. When your team is confident in it’s calling, they will pursue excellence until it produces the desired results.
For additional leadership articles such as this, click here.
Ants. Everywhere. I looked around the classroom and could feel the sting of tears forming. It was going to be a hectic morning.
I had known for weeks today would be challenging and had done everything in my power to set up my teams for success. It was a long holiday weekend, which meant many volunteers were at the beach or in the mountains with their families. (But we were covered; I had called in reinforcements in the form of staff spouses.) Our church building, which was often rented out by other well-meaning organizations, had been filled with tiny ballerinas and tappers less than 24 hours prior, and they had definitely left their mark. Glitter was everywhere. (But again, no big deal. I had hired a cleaning service and brought my own vacuum from home for a final touch-up.)
However, when I unlocked that room (the one room that hadn’t been touched by sparkles and tutus) and saw the trails of hardworking fire ants streaming across every flat surface, my heart sank. “Oh no!” I whispered. The volunteer standing at my back gasped and mumbled quietly, “I noticed them last week just outside the door. I mentioned it to another staff member. I guess they forgot.”
The Problem You Don’t See Coming
Have you ever been so flustered, so angry that you could feel your face heating? That’s exactly what I experienced in the moment. We could have remedied the problem anytime in the last seven days. There was nontoxic ant spray beneath the sink in that very room. How did we find ourselves in this situation? The volunteer’s next words effectively deflated my frustration. “I’m sorry. You’re just so particular and I was afraid I’d step on someone’s toes if I took matters into my own hands. Would you have wanted me to spray or tell you so you could spray?”
Immediately, I realized my failure. We would fall short of the expectations of the families we served because I had neglected to empower team members to identify viable solutions and make critical decisions. I had micromanaged my ministry to the point of malfunction. I had built a shifting foundation. My need for control had robbed my team members of their confidence and limited their capacity. The irony in the situation was how much I trusted my team. I had recruited incredible people with a varied set of skills and aptitude. They were fully capable of executing with excellence, but my fear of making mistakes and being labeled inadequate was stifling our success. Click here to read more.
by Jessica Bealer | Orange Leaders
I started playing basketball in fourth grade. I had hit a growth spurt and everyone kept suggesting I try it out. My dad took me to the community center and signed me up. I didn’t know how to dribble or shoot and the rules were as familiar to me as calculus theorems. I was lost, to put it mildly. In my first game I rebounded 20 balls, which may sound impressive, except that I also walked twice, missed every shot I attempted, and fouled out in the third quarter.
It was around this same time that my teammates and I became infatuated with the Chicago Bulls’ extended stay at the top of the NBA food chain. Led by the dynamic duo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the basketball-watching world stood stunned as team and individual records were shattered. Jordan was my hero. If I could shave my head and grow another foot, I knew I could be just like him.
It took me nearly two years before I developed into a contributing player.
I never became the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball, but I experienced two state championships as well as a starting position on my high school team. I was never the best on the court, but I worked hard and found my way. To this day, Michael Jordan is still my hero. In an interview a few years back he said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”1
To read more, click here.
My new book, co-authored with Gina McClain, is now available for purchase on Amazon or at Don’tQuitBook.com.
For years I wanted to quit every Monday morning. I referred to my downtrodden demeanor as the Monday morning ministry blues. Gina and I wrote this book to help others facing the same frustrations. Your ministry can be the journey of a lifetime. It takes perspective and a plan.
Order now from DontQuitBook.com and receive my new eSingle, How to Establish an Effective First-Time Guest Strategy, as well as free editable leader resources.
Reviews are welcome! We want to know what you think and how the book is helping you and your ministry.