Ministry teams always start out with high hopes and the best of intentions. It seems though that the more potential the team has for impacting others for Christ, the more Satan tries to get in the way.
Often, we are so unaware of Satan’s tricks, our ministries are almost entirely destroyed before we realize Satan has been slowly undermining them. Yet a few safeguards put into place at any point could make us more aware of Satan’s attempts and better able to prevent them from being successful.
There are a lot of safeguards you can put in place, but these are some of our favorites.
- Have a godly strategic plan in place and review it frequently. The key here is a godly or God led strategic plan. We have free resources on our website to help you develop a strategic plan that is more helpful than a purely business model one. Even the best strategic plan is worthless though, if it isn’t reviewed regularly and changes made to reflect where God is leading you.
- Have written core values and review them at least once a month. These core values should mirror God’s values and priorities for your ministry. What are the non-negotiable values of your ministry? Make sure you have scriptures to back them up. These core values shouldn’t change as God’s words don’t change. You can have secular core values, but they should be few and differentiated from the spiritual core values. Every idea should be measured to see if it matches your core values.
- Encourage leaders to think of themselves as servants and learners first. Any leader who does not have a servant heart or believes they have little to learn, will ultimately keep a ministry from reaching its potential. Develop some sort of accountability on the ministry team for putting service and learning before leading, controlling and bossing.
- Develop a “yes, and” ministry mentality. In improv, you aren’t allowed to reject another’s idea. You can however build upon it and make it even better. With the exception of theology, many ministry plans are a shadow of what they could be because people critique and defend instead of building and encouraging.
- Using the biblical body model. Make sure team members are discovering, developing and using the gifts God has given them to serve Him. Avoid placing people in areas where they are not gifted. Encourage people to be vocal when parts of their job are not in their areas of giftedness and help them find people with those gifts to take on those tasks. Don’t allow people to take down the ministry by insisting upon doing tasks for which God did not give them the gifts to do long term.
- Work on getting to know one another’s hearts very well. A lot of misunderstandings could be avoided if we really knew each other’s hearts. That takes time and effort. When in doubt, people should be encouraged to assume the best motives and intentions – not the worst.
- Seek constant feedback from those you are serving and volunteers. As strange as it may sound, you don’t want constant praise. No ministry team is perfect. You can’t fix problems if you don’t know they exist. The longer a problem goes unaddressed, the worse it usually becomes. Not every criticism is valid, but a lot more are than we are willing to admit. Because we won’t hear them, our ministries are not what they could be.
- Don’t be afraid of failure in small doses. If someone is passionate about a ministry idea, let them do a small test. It won’t cost as many resources and the person may indeed have an idea that will transform your ministry. If it flops, applaud their creativity and passion. Don’t let great ideas walk away because you are afraid of failure. Just don’t sink everything you have into them until you’ve discovered the flaws and fixed them in smaller test runs.
None of these ideas is easy. If your ministry is truly passionate about helping people get to Heaven though, you need to take the time to incorporate them into your team model. Otherwise, your ministry may never reach the potential God gave it.