Friday, January 22, 2016

Watch the Calendar

Last weekend was Martin Luther King weekend.  I don't know how it was at your church but at ours we had several families out of town because it was a four and a half day weekend.  Some traveled out of town to go skiing, out of country for a mini-vacation.  So our team was short team members due to the holiday weekend as well as really, really low on the number of students in attendance.

Years ago we adjusted our December Student Church gatherings because the holiday season impacted attendance so much.  After last weekend we will step back and evaluate what we could do differently on MLK weekend to minister to our students. 

So I have put it down on the calendar for next year so when we get closer to the day we can promote what we will be doing.  Good thing is I have several months to think about it and come up with an alternate idea.  Could be an activity like going to the movies, progressive fast food dinner, bowling, laser tag, ice skating.

The point is when there is an obvious conflict with the calendar that could be a great time to do something totally different than your normal youth group meeting/fellowship.  A long time ago I learned to watch the calendar, track attendance around holidays and watch the school calendar when it comes to planning.

What do you do differently when a holiday or long weekend impacts your attendance greatly?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Response

Problems will happen in ministry.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  I was thinking this morning about the ways we respond to problems on the staff/team.

The Blanket

I’m guilty as charged!  Blankets are a great thing when you are cold.  They are wonderful to wrap up in on a cold winter rainy night and watch a movie.  Blanket responses aren’t so good.

Sometimes on a team or staff someone does something that is wrong, this person says or does something that hurts someone.  Perhaps they just don’t perform up to a pre defined expectation.  So the blanket response is to tell the whole team, “from now on . . . . “   Or we create an unnecessary policy that is born out of frustration that is aimed at one individual but affects the whole team.

The problem is we address everyone as if everyone is guilty when we have people on the team who are doing what is expected.  I have done this too often.  One person is consistently late so I send an email to the entire to remind them of the importance of being on time,  

The best thing we can do is to use the situation as a moment to help the individual learn from their mistake and help them grow as a leader by helping them overcome whatever it is that caused the problem.  Instead of seeing it as a “team problem” we need to address the individual.  Make that individual stronger in leadership and your team will greatly benefit in the long run.

The Knee Jerk

Have you ever responded to an issue/problem/event with a knee jerk reaction?  For some of us this is a “normal” response because of our personality, because we are emotional creative types.  We just say or do because of how we feel without taking a moment to step back and think.  Then later we think about how we responded and think to ourselves, “did I really say that?”   I know on many occasions I have made a decision or said something responding immediately when the situation called for some thought and reflection before making the decision.

My gauge now (and I’m not perfect at it) is this, I ask this question:
“Is this a true emergency that requires an immediate response?”  In other words, if no one is in physical danger, if the issue won’t send someone to hell, than I can step back and think a bit before responding to the event or issue at hand.

The Blind Eye

The situation calls for attention.  The staffer, or team member, says or does something that is whack.  The Blind Eye response pretends that nothing ever happened.  Looks the other way as if everything is okay.  The problem is everything is not okay and there bubbling under the surface is an issue that may come back to bite you or erupt like a volcano.

This is the easiest response because truthfully none of us enjoy confrontation.  The problem though is the elephant sits in the middle of the room while everyone pretends the elephant isn’t there but at the same time can’t stand the stink of the elephant.  Eventually this “stink” hurts the morale of the team which directly influences our ministry to students.

The next time a situation arises I encourage us to step back and take some time to think the problem through and think about the best way to handle the problem.  Maybe even seek out the advice of someone in ministry that you respect.

My Mission Trip Experience

I just returned last week from the island of Eleuthera.  On the island there is a Christian sports camp, Camp Bahamas.  Camp Bahamas is re...