The following post was written by Chris Swain, Director of Lifeway Student Ministry Publishing
It’s almost spring, and with this season comes renewed energy, fresh perspective, potential mission projects, ski trips, vacations, and, if you’re lucky, some nice weather. Just as you might look over your house and do some spring cleaning, this is a great time to look over ministry and do some cleaning as well.
3 Reasons Your Ministry Needs Spring Cleaning
- Your student ministry needs spring cleaning for the simple reason anything needs spring cleaning: there are issues that need to be addressed. Whether it is an old leader recruitment document that needs to be updated or a logo that needs a fresh look, your ministry needs to be adjusted in an ongoing basis.
- You need your ministry to have a spring cleaning as a way to stay encouraged, refreshed, and excited about what God has called you to do. Without addressing issues and refreshing programs, practices, and strategies, your ministry can become stale. When ministry is stale it can distract you and other leaders from what is most important.
- You need to give your ministry a spring cleaning because it is healthy for the ministry. Just as you may tire from an old system or style, your students and community do as well. More importantly, your community is always changing. You must adapt and take a fresh look at how you can be missional in reaching your community. And while Jesus never changes, your programs, processes, and people may need to.
5 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Ministry
While there really are no clear number of steps it may take to give your ministry a real spring cleaning, there are five essentials that can help you walk through the process.
- Take a look at all of your programs and strategies and ask the question, “Why do we do this?” While this may seem simplistic it can result in a few really good responses. Perhaps you do it because you have always done it and you can stop now to be more effective in ministry. Or maybe your answer to “Why?” is that it is vital to your ministry. This response helps you refocus on the importance of the process or strategy. Regardless of your answer to the question, you will benefit from evaluating every one of your ministry processes and strategies.
- Take a look at your ministry. Take a really close look at it. Is that logo that was once awesome now cheesy? Is your ministry look and feel consistent with your discipleship approach? Is there anything you did because you needed it to happen quick that lasted beyond the quick-fix stage and needs to be updated or gotten rid of?
- Evaluate your ministry environments. Do you have Sunday school classes? Do they look more like storage rooms? Are there old calendars hanging around that say, “Yeah, we haven’t looked at this wall since 2012.” Are there posters or pictures or stacks of curriculum that could be moved, cleaned, reused, or repurposed? Do the same for your student worship area, hang out area, or fellowship area. Whatever your student space consists of, evaluate and adjust as needed.
- Evaluate your leadership. Sit down and look over every name of someone who serves in your ministry. Whether they’re full time staff or temporary volunteer. Pray for them and then evaluate their last few months of service. Are they plugged in and growing while leading students? Do they seem detached or angsty? Do they need encouragement or time to rest and refresh for ministry? Make tough decisions and then take action. Those who serve in your ministry will benefit from strong, discerning leadership and vision.
- Examine your own heart. One of the most difficult elements of spring cleaning is getting real with yourself and your heart toward ministry. Take a long look at your relationships, your family, your students and most importantly your relationship with Jesus. Do you need to take a few days to refresh and refocus on God’s call? Do you need to apologize to other staff or your family? Do you need to press more closely into Jesus and your relationship with Him? Perhaps you simply need to adjust your leadership skills or get a better organization plan. Whatever you determine, take action rather than putting it off for later.
Every ministry can benefit from a good spring cleaning. Take the time necessary to dive deeply into your ministry and determine what needs to be done. Ask the hard questions, make the difficult decisions. Lead. While it won’t be easy, it will result in a more effective ministry and better stewardship of what God has entrusted you to shepherd.