Revive Your Ministry This New Year
- 2005 3 Jan
- Programs are well enough under way that you can evaluate how they're doing. Identify any that seem to be in trouble. Do leaders need additional help or resources, or must they be replaced? Could you change curriculum or try new activities to regain lost enthusiasm and momentum?
- Should you reallocate resources among programs? For instance, if one class has attracted more people than you had expected, perhaps you should reassign it to a larger room.
- Have new needs arisen that require new programs? Unexpectedly rapid growth might call for a special new-member class; a sudden influx of children might call for dividing your junior-high group into two; a spate of family tragedies might argue for starting a divorce or disease support group.
- Review each of your congregation's major missions - outreach, education, discipleship, social ministry, and others. Has one or more fallen into stagnation or neglect? If so, plan a jump start.
- Are a few congregation leaders overworked, while others lack challenge? Reassigning duties might yield better results and improve morale.
- Talk individually with each of your key volunteers and gauge their enthusiasm over their tasks. If any feel discouraged, inadequate, frustrated or overwhelmed, work and pray with them to regain strength and purpose, and adjust their duties if appropriate.
- Now is the time to plan for Lent and Easter programs, Vacation Bible School, and other summer activities. Start thinking about volunteers to tap for next fall's Sunday school teachers, as well as other programs. Investigate new curriculum materials if you're not pleased with current programs. Consider polling members for ideas on unmet needs and new activities.
- Think about the training and spiritual revitalization needs of church leadership. Start planning and scheduling courses or retreats each leader should undertake this year. Ask each one to design and embark on a personal program of reading and prayer.
- Do at least one new spiritual activity this year. Read a book by an author you have never read. Attend services in a church of another denomination with which you are unfamiliar. Participate in a new volunteer activity.
- Choose three or four inactive members and make contact with them. They, too, may be thinking about new year priorities; your visit may strike a chord.
Fighting the January doldrums:
- For many people, there's a letdown after the holidays. They may feel tired after a month of frantic activity, sorry they overspent on holiday gifts, or depressed from winter weather. Consider a party for your leadership team - or for the entire congregation.
- Take a vacation from scheduled programs. Have one Sunday when people set aside the regular curriculum and discuss their resolutions or simply have fun.
- Revisit your own needs. Have you delegated away duties you loved, and focused on tasks that now seem stale and burdensome? Reallocation of responsibilities among your leadership team may energize everyone.
- Reflect and pray. Return to your favorite Scripture; re-read a favorite book. Ask God what He wants you to focus on and accomplish in the new year.