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mission

Stop wasting your on loan opportunities

ipad-stock-trend

The Pareto principle of 20/80 really does apply in ministry as well. Actually, because of the eternal outcomes we deal with, I would say it applies even more!

Look over your past week and see how you spent your time? How much went into eating lunches with friends? Working on the computer to build a better data-base or write another policy manual? Creating t-shirt designs for your youth or children’s ministry? Looking for that perfect app that will solve all of your problems? Watching T.V., enjoying your favorite hobby with all of your Christian buddies? The list will go on and on probably with all the diverse activities that we all take part in.

What if…we not only knew that we needed to invest 80% of our time into the top 20% of activities that we are in because that is what gives us the 80% of return, but we actually lived this out? What would happen if we understood that God has loaned us every minute we have here on earth to carry out what He wants to see happen?

Read this and give it some thought.
Matthew 25:14-30 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Talents
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Are you really investing your time into the things that matter? Or are you burying the time that has been given to you through activities that do not pay off? They are not in the 20% that will give back the 80% return.

Stop wasting your on loan opportunities. Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience.

Work Your P.L.A.N. for Ministry Success

Planning concept. 3d rendered image

I know there always feels like in ministry that there is so much to do and to get done. How do you tackle the things you need to do? Get rid of the things you should not be doing? Keep your teams focused and going all in the same direction?

There is a way to use the word PLAN which could be used as a tool to help keep you moving along with your mission. One place that has recorded using this PLAN is over on: Fuller Youth Institute.

Originally published as “Evaluation Part 2: Planning the Work and Working the P.L.A.N.” by Mark Maines for FYI in April 2006.

Priorities
Lasting Results
Action Strategies
Next Steps

By tackling these questions in succession, many have found that their ministries can stay more focused on the mission, more informed about what to do next, and more accountable to see those plans through. Here’s basically what it looks like:

Priorities:

What we want to carry out.
What are the most important things we need to do in our key ministry areas to move our mission forward?
What are the things we need to do and complete in the coming year? Coming months? Coming weeks? Coming days?
Lasting Results: Setting the targets for performance

Lasting Results:

What will be the results that will help us know we have accomplished our priorities?
How will we set these targets so that they become an exercise in faith as well as effective leadership?
Action strategies: Setting the stage for execution

Action Strategies:

How will we go about accomplishing what we want to see happen?
What are the right strategies, or best practices, that we might use?

Next Steps:

Making our “to do” lists
Who will do the work?
When will it be accomplished?

Have you made your P.L.A.N. for ministry success?
What tools do you use to keep you moving forward with your mission?

Exceed Expectations

It is my belief that legendary ministry comes from a genuine desire and effort to exceed what the families who are part of your ministry expect. Repeatedly, I try to create an environment where every member of the family will have shared experiences of Take T.W.O. kids ministry providing the extraordinary and making a connection well beyond some typical type ministry.

Relationships that keep the families coming back are created in some of the same ways a romantic relationship between the parents were started, by seeking an understanding of another person’s wants and desires. Sadly, as statistics show us, many of those relationships (both marriages and church members) come to an end simply because one or both parties stop their process of discovery.

Even though we in Take T.W.O. kids ministry know that our ministry is not like a marriage between parents, we also know and understand though that discovery is still essential to developing a unique and genuine bond. It is through this type of discovery that we are able to find out the special and one of a kind qualities that God has given to each family member, mom, dad, and child. It is so amazing how appreciative families are when you help them get their needs met and appreciate them for their uniqueness.

Even though there are a lot of kids ministries that actually may make a great connection with their families, and they may even discover what their congregation members need, want, and their uniqueness, many do not always act on what they learn. They can be long on interest and short on execution to address the families actual needs and unique ways they could serve God. Families can feel betrayed when they are lured into believing that their needs, input, and uniqueness matters, only to find out that it doesn’t.

It is valued in Take T.W.O. Kids ministry to go beyond and exceed expectations. We will make the connection to each family, we will discover together, and we will respond to our discovery. We will exceed expectations.

S.C.O.R.E.!!

In any sport it is extremely important to score. It’s the score that at the end separates those who won and those who did not. I am constantly trying to learn to S.C.O.R.E. Here are just a few ways that I am trying to improve so that I can constantly have a better score in life.

S = Shared information and open communication. I am intentional about sharing information and facilitating open communication because I know how that builds trust and encourages those on my teams to act like owners of the organization, ministry, friendships etc.

C = Compelling Vision. I know how and have studied how thriving ministries or businesses having a compelling vision was a hallmark of each of them. I will be purposeful in making sure that any area of my life will not only have one, but it is known and owned by all those who are part of it.

O = Ongoing learning. I will always strive to become better as a person and as part of God’s family.

R = Relentless focus on results. I want to live my life with directed purpose, focus, and determination to be everything that God wants and has for me.

E = Examination. It is not a stopping point to just work on the S.C.O.R because its not finished. Examination must take part so that the things that were good can be repeated and the things that missed the mark can be improved or done away with. Examination of systems, processes and practices need to be aligned to support the vision, goals, and mission of my life.

How do you plan to S.C.O.R.E.?

Want to be CLEAR, then ACT.

A leader must take action—action leads to impact. But actions also possess a separate, equally powerful quality. Actions are unambiguous. If you, the leader, can highlight a few carefully selected actions, then your followers will no longer have to infer the future from theoretical pronouncements about “core values” or your “mission statement.” They will simply look to see what actions you take and put their confidence in these. But be aware that people respond best to two types of action: symbolic action and systemic action.

Symbolic action is just that—a representation of what the future can look like. Symbolic action grabs their attention; it gives people something new and vivid on which to focus. When Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor of New York, he decided to get rid of squeegee men—street people who demanded payment for cleaning windshields. His action was heavily symbolic: It didn’t change New Yorkers’ day-to-day lives all that much, but it was a powerful demonstration of what Giuliani meant when he talked about a better quality of life.

Giuliani also instituted a twice-weekly meeting in which more than 100 senior police officers would gather to explain the city’s daily crime data and defend their response to it. Giuliani declared that these meetings encouraged accountability and transparency. But the meetings’ real power was that they disrupted routines. For a leader, it’s important to disrupt routines. Systemic action changes behavior. It makes people realize that the world is going to be different because they’re doing different things. The future becomes clearer, and out of that clarity comes confidence.

These things I have learned, and when going back through re-reading about Giuliani time in office, they have been confirmed again. So the bottom line is this:

Effective leaders don’t have to be passionate or charming or brilliant (although having any of these attributes will certainly help). What they must be is clearclarity is the essence of great leadership. Show people clearly how they should seek to serve, show people where their core strength lies, show them which score they should focus on and which actions they must take, and they will reward you the leader by working their hearts out to make a better future come true.

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