In my past three blog posts I’ve been detailing the first three of the four priorities that are shaping our path forward into our adulthood as a church.
If you look at these priorities together you can begin to get a sense of just how different our ministry will become as we grow into our adulthood as a church. In the early years of a church what matters most is simply “getting it going”. But as we mature we need to begin paying attention to long-term needs. That’s what our first three priorities address:
1. Fitting together, not just each program doing their own thing
2. Raising our spiritual temperature, not just running programs to boost attendance
3. Help each person and program to discover how they can serve others, not simply doing church for our own benefit.
These changes won’t happen automatically. In fact, at times we’ll find that they can really seem to complicate things. In the short run it’s far easier for everyone to simply do things their own way. It’s easier…but it’s far less effective. And the less effective our ministries, the less we are able to help people. And that’s a problem, especially in a church like New Life where reaching our community has always been a high priority.
That’s why the fourth of our current priorities is to invest in our leadership. The more we begin to focus on these three critical priorities the more they will force us to re-tool how we work together. And that’s a leadership question.
As a staff we are already discovering that we have new topics to discuss in our various team meetings, and our team members are discovering that they will each need to develop new levels of ownership in their ministry roles. And these changes will continue to bring other changes. I expect that over the next couple of years we will find that many of our volunteers serve more deeply, but in fewer ministries. Instead of minor roles in a variety of programs, many of our key volunteers will begin to discover that they can serve more effectively if they specialize in only a few roles.
Now wait a minute…this sounds great for our official leaders like Council or staff members but what does this mean for me if I’m just a regular participant?
During the coming months and years I believe that we will find that every role in our ministry begins to take on a different feel. We’ve been seeing a lot of changes in our ministry at New Life Church. But underneath all of chose changes is one larger change: learning to work together. Fitting together in a new way: like Lego blocks connecting together instead of regular blocks that are merely setting near each other. And that will change everything, even for those who do not serve on any official ministry teams.
We’re already seeing these changes happen: multi-generational Checkpoints groups, Student Ministry leaders looking to find their place in our congregational service projects, children’s ministry leaders teaming up to get to know our children more personally, or our Facility Team helping us not only replace our carpet but reinforce our prayers. These changes, and many others like them, are the direct result of leaders working together to help us “be church” differently.