I’ve read a lot about strengths and weaknesses. Arguments go back and forth about which we should focus on. However, I’ve experienced that sometimes you find yourself in a position that requires certain skills regardless of whether they even are your strengths or weaknesses.
The job of the minister is one such position. Over the next year, I’m going to intentionally focus on skills that EVERY minister must develop if they are going to be effective. These skills are part of the job description. It doesn’t matter if they are skills that you are strong or weak in, they must be developed.
The first such skill is leadership.
Recently, I found Michael Hyatt’s podcast and blog focused on intentional leadership and I would encourage everyone in a leadership position to check it out. What I hope to do is filter through the information and wisdom that Michael shares, and highlight the information that pertains to those of us in ministry.
Leaders Need A Vision
Let’s start with vision, which is the foundation of leadership. Michael expresses that results do not come from productivity, but from vision! Do you have a vision for your ministry or are you just putting out the fires right in front of you? Where do you want to be in 2, 5 or even 10 years? Without a vision what are you moving towards? How are you going to lead others to this unknown future that you haven’t even dreamt of?
In ministry, setting this vision is hard. First, you have to find time to even be able to dream, so step 1 is just that: set aside time to dream about the future of your ministry. Whether this is on a personal retreat or just a day out at the park, take some time to develop your vision.
If at first you come up dry in your dreaming and don’t know where to start, look at what your ministry’s over-arching goals are. For us Catholic Youth Ministers, this can be found in the Bishop’s document Renewing the Vision, or dive through the resources on the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry website. Also look around. There are loads of great websites to look to: Catholic Youth Ministry Hub, Discipleship Focused Youth Ministry, and Lifeteen are just a start. And don’t forget the great resources that your peers can be! What are other ministries in your area doing? What is the best ministry in the nation doing?
At Ablaze Ministries, we are dreaming of what the perfect parish youth ministry would look like if time, talent and treasure were all provided. Everyone on our staff is coming together to dream of this “perfect” ministry. Maybe you can use the same tactic. Find a small component of your ministry, and work on a vision for that piece. For example, what would your perfect volunteer team look like? How often would you meet with them? What types of training resources would you provide for them? Once you have that component fleshed out, work through another component and continue until you feel you have fleshed out your vision for your entire ministry.
All of us are going to run into roadblocks, or blind spots in our vision. Let’s use the comments below to help each other out. Let’s collaborate and share ideas and visions for different aspects of youth ministry.