Defining a Leading Lady – FAITH

By Jess Bealer

Let’s be clear. As passionately as I feel that FAITH is a requirement for a Leading Lady, I feel equally as unqualified to suggest I set an example for those to follow.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus explains, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

FAITH the size of a mustard seed? Have you seen a mustard seed? Hold it in the palm of your hand and you’ll barely be able to distinguish it from the flesh of your palm. It’s microscopic. The fact that I’ve never moved a mountain, not a single tree or even a pebble, is telling. Yet, I’ve seen God move despite my lack of FAITH. I’ve felt his comforting presence when waves of doubt threatened to capsize. God has never been and will never be intimidated by my uncertainty. He can and will work despite me. However, my trust in Him facilitates strength, endurance, and opportunity. Here are a few examples from my own life.

At 13 years old, my dad was told he had cancer and given a terminal diagnosis of eight months. My family was in tears, devastated by the weight of such horrific news. Three days later, I had an experience with God that forever changed me and redefined what it meant to have FAITH. I was getting ready for school, curling my hair, when God audibly spoke to me. He said, “Your dad will live, just trust in me.” I announced it to my family and believed wholeheartedly the words God spoke to me. 22 years later, my dad still lives. He stands in the pulpit and ministers to families each Sunday.

At 29 years old, my husband looked at me and said, “I know you don’t feel ready, but God has chosen us for a life of ministry.” I remember physically shaking my head and saying, “Are you sure? I just don’t know if I’m cut out for it?” Despite my hesitation, I obeyed God’s calling. Over the next five and a half years, God would use me to personally lead more than 200 children to Jesus and launch 15 Elevation locations.

At 35 years old, the Holy Spirit, once again, began to urge my husband and I to take a step of FAITH and go in a direction we never could have imagined or anticipated. It hasn’t been easy, but God is taking us on a journey that, no doubt, will conclude with his exaltation and my astonishment. That’s just how God works. His plans are always bigger and better than my own.

We all face seasons that are more difficult than others. When this happens, my FAITH tends to ebb and flow. I don’t always get it right. So many times I’ve tried to exert control over a situation I should have placed into the hands of a Savior who’s never failed me. Just like the song I sang in Sunday School as a child, “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.” I believe that FAITH is nothing more and nothing less than a surrendering to God’s will. Trusting He has a plan and a purpose that while unseen, is also unfailing and true. FAITH is a journey that lasts a lifetime, and while it may be frightening at times, we can find reassurance by recalling God’s past faithfulness in our lives. When we remember the miracles he’s performed on our behalf, we are able to anticipate the blessings and find peace in His promises.

Becoming a Leading Lady of FAITH means we do what only we can do, trust and obey, and God will do what only He can do, part the Red Sea and gift us with the promised land. It’s not always a grand gesture on our part. It’s more often a listening ear, a willing spirit, and a step in the right direction.

Check back here, at FamilyMinistry.Church, for additional Defining a Leading Lady articles in the upcoming days.

See You At The Orange Conference #OC17

 

Jess and I can’t wait for #OC17. It really is our favorite conference of the year! If you’ve been waiting to register, the wait is over!

If you’ve never been then you should know what’s going to happen.

  • You’ll learn from, share with, and be accepted by those in your tribe.
  • You’ll hear speakers that are innovative, practical and experienced.
  • You’ll have the freedom to set your own agenda with over 100 breakouts.
  • Your team will get back on the same page.
  • And you’ll be reminded that ministry can also be crazy, ridiculous fun! That’s a lot of awesome.

Register for The Orange Conference by February 16 to save $50 off regular rates!

www.TheOrangeConference.com

Frank Bealer

Think Differently About Appreciating Volunteers

Part of Multisite Monday

 

A few years back I wrote an article entitled, Death To Volunteer Banquets. A little blunt? For sure. Truthful? Absolutely. The point of the article was to explain how a once a year dinner designed to cast vision and give direction but branded as volunteer appreciation does little to propel your ministry forward.

Volunteer care and appreciation can only be accomplished through strategic means. It can’t be reactive. It must be proactive. In a multisite model, it’s even easier for volunteers to fall through the cracks. Reduce burnout, isolation, and dissatisfaction by systematically creating routines that enable you to personally appreciate each and every one of your team members. Let’s take a closer look at how to do just that.

 

VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION must be PERSONAL.

Volunteer banquets treat everyone the same. They equalize the volunteer who puts in ten hours at the church office in addition to his or her full time job, with the volunteer who rarely shows up even when you call and offer reminders. Not everyone enjoys getting dressed up or eating in front of other people, and not everyone has another night to give you. What was meant to honor their sacrifice becomes another burden they must bear. Instead, I would encourage you to try a different approach. Think back to some of your all-time favorite presents. I can almost guarantee what set those gifts apart from the rest was how special and unique they were to you. Someone noticed something about you, a problem you dealt with, a preference you had, or an experience that made you feel cherished and loved. I’m not advocating for everyone on your team to get a surprise trip to his or her preferred vacation destination, but I’m sure you see the point. If you truly desire to honor those you lead, you must KNOW enough about them to appreciate them in a way that is special and unique. It must be personal.

Example: A fellow children’s director I know honors graduating seniors with a collegiate mug or water bottle filled with their favorite snack or candy. She matches the mugs to the college or university each will attend in the fall. By recognizing the season he or she is entering the director shows appreciation and support.

Tip: When volunteers sign up to serve in your ministry, have them fill out a favorites form. Ask them to list everything from their favorite restaurant and Starbucks drink to their favorite dessert or hobby. When the time comes to show appreciation, you’ll have ideas of how to uniquely honor them as individuals.

 

VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION must be ROUTINE.

Saying thank you and offering words of encouragement should come as natural to you as breathing. When you witness someone act in a big picture kind of way or notice a volunteer sacrifice time and energy to move your ministry forward offer in-the-moment praise and IMMEDIATELY make a note in your phone or planner to follow up with a word or gift of appreciation at a later time. I once heard a pastor say, “Gratitude is never silent.” Your words and actions should scream gratefulness.

Example: Before the hustle and bustle of child check-in begins, I set aside 15 minutes to walk around and say hello to each member of my team. I offer compliments on everything from a perfectly set up room to a fresh haircut. Knowing my volunteers and making them feel valued and loved is as much my responsibility as ensuring we have enough veggie straws in the cabinets.

Tip: Have a secret stash of spontaneous gifts you can grab to show on-the-spot appreciation to volunteers when you notice them acting in a way that deserves immediate recognition. Keep a variety of candy, gift cards, lotions, albums, books, or even church t-shirts on hand.

 

VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION must be SYSTEMIZED

A life in ministry is busy. The work is never done, and for many of us, we indulge in procrastination far too often. I’ve come to realize if something matters to me, I must carve out a new pattern in my life to help establish habits that are healthy and productive. Volunteer appreciation should be no different. Create systems that force the behavior. Schedule time on your calendar to send thank you notes each week. Make it a habit to swing by Starbucks or Krispy Kreme every Sunday morning and pick up sweet treats for different teams of volunteers. Divide your volunteer appreciation budget into a monthly amount and set reminders to spend that money regularly. If you don’t have money set aside in your church budget to honor volunteers, advocate for it. When you systemize your volunteer appreciation it won’t be long before the practice becomes a pattern.

Example: During the holiday season, Elevation honors volunteers by honoring their children. Each year they create a Christmas clubhouse promising seasonal treats and activities to help kids enjoy the long hours spent at church each Christmas.

Tip: Create a card writing station and encourage leaders to utilize it to show appreciation to their teams. Provide beautiful stationary, colorful gel pins, stickers, confetti, and $5 gift cards. Then ask every leader to write two cards to volunteers they caught going above and beyond. Make it easy by only requiring them to write the volunteers’ names on the envelope. You can always go back and add the stamp and address later.

 

Let’s be honest, all volunteers are not created equal. Some are incredible. They move your ministry forward and you wonder what you would do without them. Others show up and get the job done and while you’re thankful for their service, they may not shine like those showstopper vols you cling to so tightly. Then there are those who you may or may not see during their scheduled service time. They arrive late, rarely smile, and occasionally spout something that has everyone around them rolling their eyes. Their contribution is little more than a ratio met. These types of volunteers are few and far between. They exist, but are definitely in the minority. Over the years, I’ve discovered that almost everyone serving in ministry signed up with altruistic intentions. No matter their “type,” at some point they just wanted to make a difference in the life of a child or student. They wanted families to feel welcome and empowered, and they wanted the personal fulfillment that comes with serving. But ministry is messy. Toddlers throw tantrums. Parents get offended. Supplies go missing. Systems change and then change again. Before you know it, a volunteer is throwing his or her hands in the air and walking out the door, or in most cases, disappearing to never be heard from again.

There are a million different reasons why a volunteer vanishes, but I’ve found more often than not, it’s because they’ve fallen off our radar. For too long in ministry, we’ve relied on a slap on the back or a kind word to keep volunteers energized and moving forward. That’s a great start, but ultimately it’s not enough. Your volunteer base may be the key to execution for your ministry, but it’s crucial to remember these are individuals with interests, concerns, and needs, and one of their greatest needs is to be valued by you, their leader.

In a multisite model, systemizing your volunteer appreciation is essential if you want to build team camaraderie and increase longevity. Whatever system you create must be transferable from one location to another. Systemizing volunteer appreciation doesn’t have to be complex to be complete. Effectiveness is most often found in personal touches and meaningful relationships.

Join me again next Multisite Monday as I talk about First Time Guest follow-up and care.

 

Jess Bealer

Defining a Leading Lady – CLARITY

 

A few years ago when preparing to launch a new portable location I asked my intern to wipe down the school’s water fountains. She smiled and nodded, but sighed as she walked away. A little later in the day as we were unloading supplies I asked, “Did I upset you earlier?” She explained how sometimes she felt insulted because I dumbed things down, shared too many details, and had a tendency to repeat myself. I asked for an example and she laughed and said, “You told me, in detail, how to wipe down the water fountains, explained what happened the last time you asked someone to wipe down the water fountains and they did it wrong, and you’ve reminded me about six times today to wipe down the water fountains. I got the message loud and clear, you want the water fountains to be clean.” I cringed and quickly apologized. I thought I was bringing clarity when in reality I was only creating frustration.

Over the years, I’ve learned clarity comes when you care enough about those you are communicating with to make a conscious effort to be cautious, clever and brief. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

Be CAUTIOUS

As a child and teen my dad would say, “Just because it can be said, doesn’t mean it should be.” He taught me that before you speak you should run it through a filter. Ask yourself these three questions.

Is it TRUE?

It has to be absolute, not just partially true, not an opinion that could and most likely will be subjective, but fully truthful.

Is it KIND?

Ask yourself, would you like for someone to say this to you or about you? If not, keep your mouth shut.

Is it NECESSARY?

So much of what we say is superfluous. It’s unneeded or useless. When we say too much, we often find ourselves regretting what was only meant to serve as a momentarily entertaining conversation.

Clarity starts with caution. Voicing the wrong sentiment or saying too much altogether can muddy the conversation and cause you to sidetrack. Use discretion when you speak. Don’t waste the time or relational equity focusing on nonessentials.

Be CLEVER

I’m not advocating for you to speak in rhyme or for every word out of your mouth to be a pun or parody, but in most circumstances there is a way to create innovative language that is also memorable.

Here are some examples:

We want to engage kids and empower families.

This explains the priorities by narrowing the scope and limiting the distractions created by highlighting everything.

We don’t “have to,” we “get to.”

This expounds on the mindset of servitude without the ten-minute speech.

Create Wow Moments.

We repeated this to volunteers frequently to remind them to go above and beyond when serving families.

The most effective form of communication is unforgettable and implicit. Say what needs to be said, but find sticky ways to get your message across.

Be BRIEF

I distinctly remember a British Literature class I took in college. Every day I would sit in the front row and attempt to focus and stay awake. The professor was highly intelligent, extremely knowledgeable, and immensely boring. It wasn’t because the subject matter was uninteresting; it was because my professor spent half the day chasing proverbial rabbit trails. She would start with Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales and within a few minutes we were listening to her recount her recent trip to England. By the end of the hour, most in the class were confused, bored and frustrated because it meant we were going to spend hours in the text self teaching material that should have been explained to us.

We’ve all sat through a lecture, a speech, or a class and thought, “Why doesn’t he get to the point?” or “How does she not realize no one is paying attention?” Yet, most of us have the unfortunate tendency to over share the personal when only the pertinent is necessary. Personal examples, if relevant, can help to illustrate a point but only if they are concise and draw direct correlations from an intangible thought to a concrete experience.

Don’t assume your audience knows anything, but say only as much as is necessary to clearly explain the point. In most cases, truth is straightforward and simple. Your speech should be as well.

The next time you find yourself leading a team meeting or preparing for a difficult conversation ask yourself how you can be more cautious, clever and brief.

Join us again next week on FamilyMinistry.Church as we continue to define what it means to be a Leading Lady in ministry.

Jess

Kidmin Multisite – The Infrastructure of Evaluation

Part Of Multisite Monday

 

In recent years, EVALUATION has become a buzzword in ministry. Growing up a preacher’s kid, I distinctly remember phrases like, “We’re not growing in number, but we’re growing in depth,” or “It doesn’t matter how many people show up if one person gives his or her life to Jesus, it’s worth it.” I also remember my dad shaking his head and saying, “No. If we can’t measure success, it’s time and money wasted.” I’m not speaking in absolutes. I’m sure there are actions you could take or ministries you could launch to further God’s kingdom that would be difficult to measure. However, I also know that defining victory increases your odds of success.

Family Ministry is one big puzzle made up of a thousand different pieces. It would be simple if we could look at our teams and say, “I trust you. Now go do a good job!” The problem is that success, if not defined, is subjective. Everyone will have a different take and those varying perspectives may not align with the purpose or vision of your ministry.

Policies, procedures, standards, and systems don’t handcuff your teams, they free them. They grant the authority necessary to meet expectations. They empower volunteers to identify solutions within the parameters you’ve set, and they clearly define boundaries. I call this the infrastructure of EVALUATION. In a multisite model, a strong foundation is essential if you want excellence to translate from one location to another, but that requires a clear set of blueprints. Below you will find a list to help get you started.

Atmosphere

Room Ratios / Small Group Ratios

Toy Replacement / Standards

Signage Requirements / Standards

Large Group Quality Control (Run-through / Actors)

Minimum Standards (By Area)

 

Policy and Procedures

First Time Guest Welcome Procedure

First Time Guest Follow-Up Plan

Special Needs Family Procedures

Child Bathroom Policy

Diaper Changing Policy

Infant Feeding Procedures

Snack Restrictions / Policy

Check-In / Check-Out Procedures

Room Opening / Closing Procedures

Tear-down / Set-up Procedures

Incident Reporting System

Safety / Security Standards

Evacuation Plan

Active Shooter Policy

Curriculum Distribution Procedures

Transition(s) Plan (Small Group / Large Group)

Parent Paging System (During the Service)

 

Volunteers

Volunteer Communication / Feedback Plan

New Volunteer On-boarding Procedures

Volunteer Training / Coaching Plan

Volunteer Appreciation Plan

Volunteers’ Children Care Plan

Volunteer Dress Code

Supply Needs / Communication Procedures

Setting clear expectations for your teams allows for advancement and accountability. This list isn’t a catchall. As your ministry changes and expands, additional policies and procedures may be necessary. Your current systems and standards will most likely be null and void a year from now if you’re experiencing growth. Building the infrastructure in advance will ensure you’re ready for all God has planned for your ministry.

I hope you’ll join me again next week on FamilyMinistry.Church for Multisite Monday as we discuss systemizing Volunteer Appreciation!

Jess Bealer

Thoughts On Leadership Development

 

Leadership Development (with Craig Johnson & Frank Bealer) from INC Pastoral Resources on Vimeo.