I was in jazz band in high school. I played saxophone. To be honest, I loved the idea of being in a jazz band more than I actually like playing in a jazz band.
Jazz is tough. In ministry as in music: It’s easier to stay in rhythm that start.
But there are times when a ministry gets out of rhythm. Something just feels off. It’s hard to describe. And it takes an incredible amount of effort to stop the music, look around, and start over.
And once you do, it often takes time before things start to feel “right” again.
Here are 4 tips to keep your team in rhythm:
1. Have conversations.
You’re busy. It’s just a part of being in ministry. Especially children’s or youth ministry.
Often, we’re so busy about ministry that we forget to stay connected to ministry. Don’t let busy-ness crowd out the life-giving conversations with those you serve.
You got into ministry (probably) because you love people. You love to see life change. You love to see Jesus working in the life of your church. The odd thing is that ministry will still happen, butyou won’t notice the positive aspects of ministry unless you’re near them.
Texting. Social media. Email. Phone. Coffee. Meals. Letters (remember that one?). There are plenty of ways to connect. Connect to other leaders in your ministry often through conversation.
2. Play together.
Do you remember how easy it was to play when we were kids? Maybe you were the type of kid who imagined making dragon-slaying broad swords out of kitchen rolling pins. Or hosting elaborate tea parties around your toy box.
Play was simply happy kids doing whatever they wanted.
And it nourished us.
But there was a communal aspect to play too: We’d play with anyone. We’d play whatever.
At its core “play” was the one thing we wanted to do more than anything. It was how we spent our time and how we made friends – real or imaginary.
But somewhere we lost the ability to play.
Think about the a significant memory in ministry. It probably didn’t happen in a boardroom. It probably didn’t happen in your office hunched over your computer. Most formative memories happen when our defenses are dropped, our imaginations are open, and we’re doing what we enjoy most.
What would look like if the leaders in your ministry just played together?
Away from church.
Just to recover what it means to enjoy being together.
Don’t over-program or try to lead to strongly.
Don’t have an agenda if you can help it.
Don’t become so focused on tasks – no matter how important – that you start to believe you’re working alone. The best guitar soloist in the world can become an obnoxious distraction if he forgets he’s part of a band. Don’t let yourself get there.
Ask other people in your ministry what they’re working on.
Ask how you can pray for them.
Get to know their hearts.
4. Stay close to your sweet spot.
There’s an old saying that goes “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
While there are always aspects of ministry that you’ll never like, it’s important to stay connected to those aspects that nourish you. Honor how God has wired you by not taking on too much outside of your gifting.
Encourage others you serve with to do the same.