Essential Leadership Leader's Guide: Ministry Team Meetings That Work

Essential Leadership Leader's Guide: Ministry Team Meetings That Work

by Kara E. Powell
     
 

'You know that the key to a strong youth group is your volunteer team. And the key to a strong team of volunteers is a common vision and passion for both teenagers and the ministry. Unfortunately, you probably also know what a struggle it can be to get that vision out of your own head and into the hearts of your volunteer team.

Too often, we youth pastors

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Overview

'You know that the key to a strong youth group is your volunteer team. And the key to a strong team of volunteers is a common vision and passion for both teenagers and the ministry. Unfortunately, you probably also know what a struggle it can be to get that vision out of your own head and into the hearts of your volunteer team.

Too often, we youth pastors schedule regular meetings with our adult volunteers and small group leaders with good intentions, but these meetings often degenerate into a string of announcements about upcoming events and leave out the things that lead to deeper ministry.

This unique, research-based training resource addresses the needs of you and your volunteer leaders and includes the voices of influential youth ministry veterans. Designed to focus on a key monthly issue over nine months, Essential Leadership provides you with insight and tools to make ministry team meetings work, and to engage all your leaders in discussion that will take both the ministry and the students deeper by exploring:
* Your ministry's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
* Integrating students into the life of the church
* Effective family ministry
* Holistic ministry
* Giving and receiving mentoring
* Getting the rest you need
* Deep justice
* Helping kids who are hurting
* Giving your kids a faith that lasts

Using this leader's guide along with the companion participant's guide will strengthen your youth ministry leadership team so that together you can make a deeper impact on the lives of teenagers.'

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310669333
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
12/29/2009
Edition description:
Leaders Gu
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Essential Leadership Leader's Guide

Ministry Team Meetings That Work
By Kara Powell

Zondervan

Copyright © 2009 Kara Powell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-66933-3


Chapter One

ESSENTIAL ASSESSMENT A MAP THAT GETS OUR MINISTRY FROM HERE TO THERE

ESSENTIAL THOUGHTS

Gather five youth workers, and you'll get five different opinions on which direction your ministry needs to head in the future. Gather five of your teenagers, and you'll have seven different opinions. Gather five parents of your teenagers, and you'll have 10 different opinions:

More worship ...

No, less worship ...

More outreach ...

No way! We need more discipleship ...

More justice work and less small group time ...

Forget that. We need just the opposite ...

In the midst of the conflicting opinions about what should be changed in your ministry, how can you make sure you and your team align yourselves with God's vision and not just whichever voice is shouting the loudest? How can you accurately assess your location today and discern the direction God is leading you tomorrow?

The good news is God is already at work in your ministry now and will be at work in the future. As Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk remind us in The Missional Leader, "In what ways might God already be ahead of us and present among people in our community? How might we join with God in what is alreadyhappening?"

One map that helps some youth ministries sense God's leading is an organizational leadership tool called the SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT isn't a new tool; in fact, it's been around for so long nobody really knows who invented it. Many people know what the SWOT analysis is. But in our experience few leaders understand what it does, and even fewer know how to use it as a map to experience essential leadership.

The Four Elements of SWOT

1. Strengths

Well-known leadership consultant Peter Drucker writes, "Most of us underestimate our own strengths. We take them for granted. What we are good at comes easy, and we believe that unless it comes hard, it can't be very good. As a result, we don't know our strengths, and we don't know how we can build on them."

Accurately assessing our youth ministry's strengths can be difficult for a number of reasons. We may be in a setting that doesn't allow us to share such things, or we may not want to be perceived as arrogant or proud. As a result we either remain blind to those successes or keep them to ourselves. Because of this, many of us don't know what our ministry does well, what we should replicate, and what to celebrate with the rest of our team.

Identifying our strengths brings two primary benefits. First, we're immediately encouraged to repeat certain behaviors because they seem to produce the fruit we desire. Second, we see what we should be celebrating. Our team deserves the encouragement and the opportunity to see how our collective contributions are transforming kids.

Questions to help you understand your ministry's strengths:

> What are we doing well that we can thank God for?

> Whose contributions can we celebrate?

> What are we doing that's producing the outcomes we desire?

> What should we continue doing because we do it better than most?

2. Weaknesses

Unfortunately, in the same way we often don't take the time to identify our own strengths, we're also afraid to look at, much less articulate, the weaknesses of our ministry. As a result we rarely name and speak of things that aren't going well.

People seem to have this lingering fallacy that to acknowledge that something isn't working is to call into question the effectiveness of our entire ministry. But a call for continuous improvement is not a criticism of our work or calling. Instead it's an inherent part of our journey to essential leadership. As leadership guru Max De Pree reminds us, "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality." To look honestly at a situation and define reality is to speak the truth. It's not placing blame, not accusing anyone of wrongdoing-it's fulfilling the first responsibility of leadership.

Questions to help you understand your ministry's weaknesses:

> What's not working well?

> What can be improved?

> What needs to be removed altogether?

> What do we want to avoid in the future?

3. Opportunities

A friend of mine once described his ministry experience as more of a "here it comes, there it goes" cycle. He could envision what he wanted the ministry to look like. But more often than not, the ministry team was unable to hold onto the positive aspects of their work before they disappeared. The successes left as quickly as they came.

I would guess that many of us have experienced this dynamic to some degree, and we know how frustrating it can be when the there it goes occurs more frequently than the here it comes. But if we can identify the God-given opportunities brought before us, then we'll be able to choose the paths God is leading us toward instead of blindly racing-or even stumbling-past them.

Questions to help you understand your ministry's opportunities:

> What opportunities can we take better advantage of?

> What benefits can we leverage from the natural strengths of our ministry and community?

> What things outside our organization would help us achieve the results we're looking for?

4. Threats

Threats exist both outside and inside our ministries. Some are minor; some are imminently dangerous. They may be obvious (you have only one volunteer and she's moving away next month!), or they may be relatively hidden (your students' parents remain disconnected from youth ministry). We might be tempted initially to look past these threats; however, ignoring them generally doesn't make them disappear. On the contrary the longer threats are ignored, the more damaging they become. However, threats can be minimized-even neutralized-when we approach them honestly, directly, and thoughtfully.

Questions to help you understand your ministry's threats:

> To which threats must we pay attention?

> Which threats could potentially jeopardize our ministry efforts?

> What events happening in the world outside our church or ministry could potentially negatively affect our students or ministry and therefore need more attention and examination?

A hiker who actually cares about where he ends up would never check a map at the start of his trip and then never refer to it again. In the same way, no youth ministry team that wants to move from here to there does the SWOT analysis and then forgets about it. Keep your SWOT analysis in front of you. Review and prayerfully update it every three to six months. When you get to a fork in your youth ministry trail, this essential analysis might just show you which path to take.

SWOT Table

ESSENTIAL TEAM TALK

The Big Idea: Taking time to analyze our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can help us follow the direction God has for our ministries.

You'll need-

> Three index cards on which you've written one of the following well-known leadership statements per card:

>> "IF YOU AIM AT NOTHING, YOU'LL HIT IT EVERYTIME." -UNKNOWN

>> "THE FIRST RESPONSIBILITY OF A LEADER IS TO DEFINE REALITY." -MAX DE PREE

>> "BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND." -STEPHEN R. COVEY

> Four sheets of poster paper taped to a wall

> Two sheets of paper for each person

> Markers

> Crayons

> Tape

> An Essential Leadership Participant's Guide for each of your adult volunteers

> Have More Time? option: Copies of the blank SWOT table

Now

To launch into your discussion about essential assessment, hold up the three index cards while you explain, On each of these cards, I've written a well-known leadership quote. Who wants to read one of these cards aloud?

Distribute index cards to three different volunteers and then invite one of them to read the leadership statement aloud. When the first volunteer is finished, ask How does this statement relate to essential leadership?

Invite a second volunteer to read a quote aloud and ask the same question about its relevance to essential leadership. And you guessed what's next: Do the same process with the third volunteer.

Explain, In these three quotes, we see the importance of both knowing where we are-our current reality-and knowing where we want to head-the end we're aiming for. Another way of thinking about where we're heading is to draw a picture of our preferred future.

Distribute two pieces of paper and crayons to volunteers and ask them to write words or draw a picture on one piece of paper that depicts their description of the current reality of your youth ministry. On the second piece of paper, invite participants to write words or draw pictures to depict the direction they'd like your youth ministry to be heading.

When they're finished, invite them to share both pictures. Hang the current reality pictures on one wall of your meeting space and the where-we-want-to-be pictures on the opposite wall.

New

Point from the first wall to the second wall and explain, It's no easy task getting from here to there. A SWOT analysis is one essential tool that can help us better determine where we are, as well as what steps we need to take to move forward.

If you don't mind people throwing things at you, then you can add, So let's take a swat at SWOT together. (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)

Note: You can use SWOT to evaluate either your entire ministry or just a few portions of it, such as your small groups, your teaching, or your student leadership. Decide ahead of time what you need more of in your ministry and frame the rest of the discussion accordingly. You'll want to decide beforehand how much time you can spend on each of the four SWOT areas during your discussion and then stick to it. Otherwise it can be easy to let the conversation linger too long in one area. Either be the timekeeper yourself or assign someone to watch the clock and move the evaluation forward at the appropriate marks.

1. Strengths

Invite your leaders to turn to the New section in their Essential Leadership Participant's Guide and then ask, Why is it good to identify our strengths? After they've shared some answers, ask the first question the team can respond to in their journals (marked with a Q:).

Q: So what do you think are our ministry's strengths?

Label the first sheet of poster paper STRENGTHS and write your team's answers on it. If your group gets stuck before you've created a comprehensive list, ask one or more of these questions as a different way to trigger their thinking:

> What are we doing well that we can thank God for?

> Whose contributions can we celebrate?

> What are we doing that's producing the outcomes we desire?

> What should we continue doing because we do it better than most?

2. Weaknesses

Ask the following questions from the Participant's Guide:

Q: What keeps us from identifying our weaknesses?

Q: What would we gain if we better identified our weaknesses?

Q: As we talk about our weaknesses together, what steps can we take to make sure no one, including me, ends up feeling blamed or attacked?

If it would be helpful, explain that the healthiest youth ministries embrace a spirit of continuous improvement in which the leaders are constantly trying to learn and grow without blaming others for past or present mistakes. Then ask-

Q: So what isn't working as well as we would hope?

Move to the second poster paper, label it WEAKNESSES, and write your volunteers' answers on it. Again, if you need additional questions as conversation catalysts, try-

> What can be improved?

> What needs to be removed altogether?

> What do we want to avoid in the future?

Transition to the last two elements of the SWOT analysis by explaining: The last two elements of the SWOT analysis refer to either opportunities or threats that often lie outside of our immediate ministry but impact us nonetheless.

3. Opportunities

Begin with these questions:

Q: What do we mean by opportunities?

Q: What are some of the opportunities our ministry can take advantage of?

Move to the third poster paper, write OPPORTUNITIES on it, and jot down your volunteers' answers. Additional questions to help you think more broadly about opportunities include:

> What benefits can we leverage from the natural strengths of our ministry and community?

> What things outside of our organization would help us achieve the results we're looking for?

4. Threats

Start by asking-

Q: What happens if we ignore threats to our ministry?

Q: So what might be some threats our ministry is facing now or might face in the near future?

Write THREATS on the fourth piece of poster paper and list your volunteers' ideas. These additional questions might help your team if you get stuck:

> To which threats must we pay attention?

> Which threats could potentially jeopardize our ministry efforts?

> What events happening in the world outside our church or ministry could negatively affect our students or our ministry and therefore need more attention and examination?

How

Review all four SWOT poster papers and ask: Is there anything we can combine or delete because it seems redundant? Is there anything else we want to add?

Make those changes on the four pieces of poster paper. Then ask-

Q: What themes do you see in what we've written?

Explain, Now I'm going to distribute a few markers and give you 16 votes, represented by 16 stars that you will each draw, to place in any of the four SWOT categories. But you can't exceed four votes in a category-that's the limit. These votes represent what you think is most important for us to focus on, either to fix or take advantage of, over the next six months.

So to clarify, within each category, you can use four of your 16 votes however you'd like. You can give four separate items one vote each, two separate items two votes each, or one item all four votes. But again, don't exceed four votes in one category.

After you and your team members have finished voting, count up the stars next to each item and circle those items that received the most votes. Ask-

Q: What have we learned from our voting exercise?

Q: What in these voting results confirms what you would have guessed?

Q: What surprises you?

Choose two to four items that received the most votes and invite your volunteers to get into different task forces to discuss these particular items. Give each task force 15 minutes to discuss the item and then have them report any initial recommended action steps they'd like to suggest. Encourage the groups to think about how students, volunteers, parents, or church members can contribute to that particular area so it doesn't end up being all the youth leader's job. These groups will only be able to scratch the surface in 15 minutes, but it's good to strike while the assessment iron is hot.

After the task forces have reported, either have them individually complete the Essential Assessment Action Plan at the end of Chapter One of their Participant's Guide, or you can complete it together as a large group based on ideas that emerged from all of the groups.

Close by asking each task force to huddle up and pray about the particular area-for God to give you a vision for how to get from here to there in such a way that honors God and deepens your ministry.

If it seems like a good physical reminder of your journey, start your prayer time standing on one side of the room to represent here-where we are now. Pray specifically about what's going well in your ministry today. Then walk together to the other side of the room to represent there-your goal or preferred future. Once you get there, ask God to bring about the changes to bring that vision to reality in your ministry.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Essential Leadership Leader's Guide by Kara Powell Copyright © 2009 by Kara Powell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Dr. Kara E. Powell is an educator, professor, youth minister, author, and speaker. She is the Executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary (see www.fulleryouthinstitute.org). Kara also serves as an Advisor to Youth Specialties and currently volunteers in student ministries at Lake Avenue church in Pasadena, CA. She is the author of many books including Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids (with Chap Clark) and Deep Justice Journeys. Kara lives in Pasadena with her husband, Dave, and their children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica.

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