Last week we posted the first article of a series on team unity. We asked the question: what will make people love working with your ministry? In this post and the next two, we’ll continue focusing on how to build team unity and share how you can create a culture of commitment within your ministry.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish …” Proverbs 29:18a (KVJ).
What leads people to commit for the long run to children’s ministry?
There has to be a “why” behind what you’re doing, a compelling cause that people can buy into. This isn’t about how you do things or the results you’re looking for. It’s the beliefs that drive you. Why should people care at all about your ministry? What is your purpose?
You need your vision, or your “why,” to be clearly, simply, and compellingly articulated. When you do this, it reframes the approach to working with your ministry. It changes the perspective from thinking in terms of what people have to give up—the cost it will be to them—to thinking in terms of being part of a grand cause for which they are willing to sacrifice.
When you do this well, people who identify with your vision will “get” it and be passionate about it. They’ll want to join your cause because they care about it and want to be part of it, not because they were begged into volunteering.
Once you’ve done this, your job as a leader is to make sure your cause stays authentic and central to your ministry. Structure your organization in such a way that your people are able to be a real part of your vision. Give them ownership in it. Then communicate your “why” clearly and reinforce it often.
When we led Heroic Life Discipleship at our church, our “why” was a passion for effective discipleship—to present the fullness of the gospel clearly and simply in a way that would be understood and lived out. When we recruited, we looked for people who were also passionate about our vision and who were willing to give of their time for that cause.
It wasn’t that serving on our team was always easy—it definitely wasn’t. But because we had a clear purpose, because our team was passionate about that purpose, and because we as leaders consistently reinforced this purpose, people stuck together through thick and thin. When they did leave, it was for reasons other than burning out: they moved out of town, they got a job and didn’t have time any more, etc. Very few, if any, complained about or left because of hardship.
- Craft a clear and compelling “why” for your ministry. Consider involving your team in this process—it’ll give them that much more ownership and commitment when they’ve been asked and listened to.
- Think about how you could adjust your structure and roles so that what you do and how you do it align closely with your “why.”