Have you ever felt like there is so much on your plate at times where you are looking at your calendar and you literally think, “How in the world am I going to pull this off?” If not, I’m jealous. Also if not, get ready, it’s coming.
I know there are times in ministry where it feels like you are wearing many hats and it feels like you are doing a lot of things pretty good, a few things not well at all and a few things you are not doing at all but you wish you were. If you are anything like me, this kills you. I cannot stand doing something halfway. My dad’s voice is in my head in these seasons saying (now, if you are going to get mad, get mad at my dad for this, don’t get mad at me. His name is Kurt) “Don’t [email protected]$$ two things, [email protected]$$ one thing”.
In the past, I would have worked myself to death trying to do everything but over the years I have learned to triage things in youth ministry. Now it’s not that I don’t think all of these are important but I have learned (and I still am) how to prioritize and do the things in which are so important for the long term. Let me give you an example:
Right now I am wearing two significant hats. I am our student ministry team lead who is in charge of the youth ministry staff and overall direction of our student ministry of two campuses, soon to be four.
I am the high school pastor at our broadcast campus.
Both of these jobs to be done well would require a full-time person, and I know that one day will come soon as we prep for our future as a church, but right now I assume both of those positions. It’s hard. I feel like I am doing both pretty good, not well. I feel like, for the future, I need to focus on team and pour into and develop them as pastors and leaders and cast and carry out the vision of our ministry as we prepare to expand and make sure all of our systems are in place BUT I am also the high school pastor at our biggest campus which has leaders and students who need the same amount, if not more, attention and care while running the midweek service we have rolling every week.
This is where the triage comes in.
Right now, I feel what is best for the ministry overall is developing our student ministry team and developing the systems and structures that we will need in place as we grow. That means for right now, it is more important for me to spend time at lunch with my team than going on campus to lunch. It means I need to spend time at coffee going over strategy and vision with the staff then going to coffee with anyone else.
Does it mean I don’t want to? Not at all! Does it mean I don’t? Not at all! It means I have adjusted my time to do what is most important for future while sacrificing what I normally have been doing on a daily basis in regards to my high school pastor role. It means it has forced me to delegate more than I ever have, it means more leaders have been given more responsibility than ever, and it will show me how well I have lead in the seasons of no triage in order to focus on the overall more important thing, the thing that will help our ministry years down the line.
All doing this with my family in the back of my mind to make sure they are my first priority.
Triage: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care.
What am I saying?
As you lead, there will be seasons of triage… and that is okay. One of the best things I am learning is knowing just that. Knowing what things come before others in their urgency of care to continue to move forward at a healthy pace.