This week we’re answering the following question raised at last year’s Connect Conference:
Since I am part-time in ministry, what are the top three things I should commit to in order to make ministry happen?
I just finished a part-time ministry position in a church, so this is one question I can answer with pretty good clarity.
Make sure you are on the same page as the full-time ministers in your church.
Because you won’t spend endless hours with the ministerial staff, you need to make sure expectations and goals are crystal clear. You won’t be with them in meetings, at lunch, or just hanging with them in the office, and those are the times when moments of clarity often arrive. So, follow-up with them on everything from the big picture to the small details. Make certain you are communicating clearly and following the same vision.
For example, you’re a part-time young adult minister. Where should you focus most of your time? On young married couples? On single 20-somethings? If you and your full-time ministerial staff don’t have the same answer to this question, you have a problem.
Focus on over-communicating.
E-mail? Great. Facebook? Wonderful. Texting? Beautiful. Phone? Outstanding. Use every communication tool available to you, but don’t rely on just one to make sure everyone knows what’s happening. I once read in a marketing book that it takes seven different touches to make a sale. I think the same rule applies to church life. If you’re starting a small group, you probably need to make multiple touches with people through multiple methods to make sure they know they’re invited, where they need to go, and what they need to do. If you’re launching a mid-week worship service, the same truth applies.
Two big cautions also apply here. Don’t rely on electronic methods when you need to make a personal touch. Texting one of your leaders a note of comfort when they lose their job doesn’t cut it. They need a visit. They need to look you in the eyes and know that you care. Don’t abandon snail mail either. People like to get cards and letters from you. They know it took time, and they know you went out of your way to think of them. So, be a cards and letters kind of part-time minister.
Invest in your leaders.
Depending on the size of church you serve in, you may not have time to personally invest in every person your ministry touches. However, you MUST make time to personally invest in your leaders. They are the heart and soul of your ministry, and you need to pour yourself into them. Help them become better Bible study leaders. Listen and address their concerns. Know what’s happening in their personal and spiritual lives. Know when they’re burnt out and need to take some time off. Know them by heart and make sure they know you love them. Follow Jesus’ model of pouring into the 12 disciples. He couldn’t spend time with every person in the crowd. While He did invest in select people from the crowds, like the woman at the well, Nicodemus, or Zacchaeus, He spent most of His time with His leaders.