"We all want to be better at what we do because we believe that what we do matters — because we believe that our families need an authentic faith to understand life and know their identity in Jesus."
These are the first words of the first session that I attended called “Measuring What’s Important in Family Ministry” by Terry Scalzitti. He serves at Ocean View Church in Myrtle Beach, SC. AMAZING first session, thought provoking, and challenging as I think about how to evaluate ministry with honesty and clarity.
Take a read below of my notes and ask yourself: “What are my gauges, and how am I evaluating what I do in ministry as a leader, a volunteer, a Christ follower?"
You must leverage what is cultural and what is changing so that you may communicate what is eternal. We are fools to think that we can do church without acknowledging this truth. If you want to build something that lasts, you must be willing to change what you build.
Ask yourself: "What is the one thing that I need to evaluate and change?"
Upgrading the systems and structures of your ministry and church allows you to highlight your mission in a clearer way. Every single week, we need to challenge our systems, structures, and community to change, which always begins with us.
Here are 6 Gauges to Help You Do Ministry Better:
1. Strategy Gauge
Are we aligning our systems so that our staff, leaders, and parents are leading with the same end in mind? Parents already struggle with how to partner with the church. The last thing we want to do as pastors and ministry leaders is make a parent’s life more difficult due to programming. Furthermore, when we believe our ministry is most important, then we fail to see the end in mind. We need to ensure that our wins line up with what really matters for our end game. Fight against silo thinking staff. Leaders and volunteers get disillusioned with lack of direction. Over-programming and competing systems dilute the effectiveness of the church.
2. Experience Gauge:
To create an experience, your experience must be "EPIC - Experiential, Participatory, Image Driven, Connective,” taken from Leonard Sweet. You must simplify in order to create a true experience. When we communicate and create experiences, we need to first make sure that we connect with the audience, and as you do so, craft CORE TRUTHS into engaging and relevant experiences. When we don’t craft the experience, the church is perceived as irrelevant, When we do not provide the Word of God in a practical, engaging, way, then we fail, so KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! A CANCELING effect begins to happen to core truths when we do not SIMPLIFY the experience and make it EPIC. Do you try hard to make our kids theologians? They need a simple biblical truth to penetrate their heart and provide a foundation for when life does not add up.
3. Groups Gauge:
Are you creating a culture that truly grows and develops leaders who SERVE in the ministry? To do so, make people feel like they’re in community and doing something significant within the community of Christ. Often we do the things that turn off potential leaders. When we turn off leaders, these things tend to happen::
- We tend to produce a generation of Christians who cannot develop authentic relationships.
- Parents feel alone in trying to have moral and spiritual influence with their children.
- The church is characterized by superficial relationships.
- Students tend to pursue counsel and advice in unhealthy relationships.
- Leaders fail to discover their responsibility to make a significant investment in one’s life.
4. Family Gauge
Are we creating consistent environments for kids and students to experience personal ministry? We must fight the tide of parents who are programmed to see the church as a PROVIDER OF SERVICES for their kids. We change the script when we express to them our desire to PARTNER not in a service, but in transformation. Students fail to experience and realize their calling to care for others, and they leave the church without a passion to pursue God’s calling in their lives.
When we do not partner with parents:
- Individual families never experience a sense of calling and mission to make others a priority.
- Leaders never recognize that the discipleship process is also about influencing a student to serve and care for others.
- Students establish a consumer mindset about the church.
- Communities continue to perceive the church as institutional and insulates.
5. Personal Gauge:
Ask yourself: "If this were a race, would you FINISH?" If I am just running, then I will crash and burn and take everyone down with me.”
2 Ways to counter burnout:
- Be a student.
- Be balanced at home, with your spouse, kids, and outside relationships.
QUESTION: What’s the one thing that God is screaming into your heart that needs to change in order that you may make a difference in the life of those within my church community?