It won’t change over night, but it can over time. So calm down.
First of all, this post is for leaders who recently taken the role as leader of a ministry (recently meaning 3 years or less in their current role) although I hope for those in a longer standing role, maybe you can be reminded or you can speak into this. I think one of the hardest things being the leader of a ministry is wanting your ministry to be somewhere “further” and it seeming to take forever to get there. You have an idea of what culture and vibe you want, but its not even close. Even worst, you feel that it is not going anywhere. You want to see change, growth, something that does not make you feel like your wheels are just turning in the mud.
I’m going to be honest. It’s hard. I feel it too.
Let me tell you something…
It’s going to take time. Don’t burry yourself. Culture takes a long time to change. Just the other week I was talking with Josh about how our small group culture is not where I want it to be and his response was, “You have been there a year. Calm down. It took us 5 years to get the culture we wanted. Be patient.”
If you are recent in your role, maybe these can be a reminder and practice for you this year:
Pray- Prayer is simple but it is not always easy. Patience is key to prayer. Pray God begins to show how He is working and growing in things maybe you are not paying attention to. Pray for God to move, in whatever way your ministry NEEDS to grow in, not what you WANT it to grow in.
Pursue- Pursue the culture you want to set. Begin making small changes in language, events, series, whatever you want it to be, begin now. Pursue where you want to go not where you currently stand. You as the leader are to model that culture to your leaders, who then bleed it into your students. It’s going to take time but it will get there. It’s been a little over a year in my current role and I’m not now beginning to see the things I wanted from day one when I got here.
Persist- Don’t give up on the vision that God has placed on your heart for your ministry. When we are pursuing for what seems like a long time, we need to be persistent in our drive to reach the culture we want in our groups. I think one of the biggest mistakes I see youth workers do is give up yearly on a vision because it didn’t go in the timeline they were hoping when all they needed to do is stick with it because something was about to break. Persist. Persist. Persist.
Prepare – Prepare now for what you want God to do in the future. I feel that sometimes God does not give us what we want because we are ready or prepared to handle what we are asking for. What is the thing you wanting in your ministry and then ask yourself, “If I were to get more students/have more group leaders/etc would I be able to handle them in a way that is effective?” Prepare now, plan as if you have now, so if/when it comes, you will be able to make the best of it.
We have goals and vision for our ministry but God has the power to make it happen. So pray, pursue, persist and prepare in these first few years. Stick it out. Don’t get down on yourself. Be faithful. It is not going to change over night, but over time it will.