We’ve all inherited some sort of legacy in our ministries. Whether we’re looking at the micro-level of an individual church, or the wider scope of church history, we’re all beneficiaries of work that was done before our time. As I’ve reflected on this idea, I’ve started asking myself this question: What can I do to build my ministry for tomorrow?
#1 BUILD INTO YOUNGER PEOPLE
This one may seem obvious, but being around church culture as much as I have (basically, all of the 26 years of my life), it still seems like we need to be reminded. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young.” The energy and life that young people bring to our creative teams is invaluable. Not only do they have lots of free time to spend serving the ministry, but they also have an incredible knack for learning new things quickly. If you’re struggling to find enough tech volunteers, try going into your youth ministries and inviting students to come mess around with expensive flashing lights all weekend! Or have a student bang on some drums in a middle school service. It’s important to keep in mind that “younger” is relative. When I was volunteering as a high school student years ago, I was looking for middle school students that I could be training. I knew that I wasn’t going to be in my church’s high school group forever, and I wanted to make sure that everything I had worked to improve would keep getting better when I left for college. It’s never too early to mentor somebody younger than you.
There’s usually no shortage of creative young people - just a shortage of mentors willing to come alongside them. Tweet This
#2 WORK TO BUILD SYSTEMS
At our church, we have countless systems and processes that we’ve spent a massive amount of time and resources building. We've done (and continue to do) this with one goal: set our teams up for success. This isn’t to evade hard work - it’s to free up our staff and volunteers to devote time to other, more important things. A great example is our preparation culture. At Bayside, we don’t do a mid-week rehearsal. We set the expectation on volunteers and staff alike to arrive at soundcheck already knowing the song very well. That way, we’re able to focus our time before services on transitions, final touches, and the Front-of-House mix. This system, however, wasn’t built overnight, and it hadn’t been completed when I joined the team in 2011. There was a lot of heavy lifting at the beginning, but getting our team onboard with the reason behind the change made it much easier to convince them to take on the additional commitment of preparing at home. Those who developed this system built it for those who were coming AFTER them, not for the present, and our current teams have inherited that hard work. With all the time saved by cutting rehearsals, our team is able to focus on ministry expansion, Thrive School classes, songwriting, and building relationships during the week.
#3 MAKE PEOPLE THE VALUE, NOT YOUR NEEDS
Our team is a family, and everything we do on a stage overflows from that. We rely heavily on volunteers at Bayside to put on our weekend and mid-week services (at last count, that was about 65 per week). It’s too easy to start seeing people primarily for what they can bring to the team. I have to constantly remind myself that the (very real) need of having enough bodies on a stage is not the reason we’re doing this.
The value of having a big team isn’t filling Planning Center positions. Tweet This
Ultimately, we build the church - and our teams - to reach more lost people and disciple Christ-followers. That’s why it’s important to see people the way Jesus did. He spent the majority of his time with people who were desperate and didn’t know him, while also discipling a small number of his followers. We need to be genuinely more interested in the lives of those who serve on our teams and seeing them grow closer to Christ than we are interested in how many weekends a year they can play bass. That’s how you create an environment of inclusivity that people can’t resist!
If people see Jesus in your team, you will be a magnet to those who want to help build the church. Tweet This
The local Church is going to last longer than we’re going to be doing ministry, so take some time to consider ways you can build something in your team for those who will come after you. It may not be the most immediately gratifying way to lead, but building into those who come after you will be much more impactful in the long run.