Two Years ago (25 months as of this post) we transitioned to a new church, new state, new city, new schools, new community, new micro culture...a lot of new. Transitions are never flawless and any transition in life brings on challenges & joys.
Several people in the last few months have asked how things have been for us as a family as well as I've had a few new youth workers ask me how to transition well. Several of them are getting ready to go into full time ministry after being part-time or leaving one ministry setting & moving to another.
Over the last 24months of my transition there are several key leadership principles I've applied as well as youth ministry leadership foundational principles we've instilled and those are definitely worth writing about. But as I've shared these are four elements that keep coming up in conversations and as I have looked back, definitely elements that I've tried to do well. While each setting is uniquely different, I think these carry over anywhere.
Evaluate Clearly --
I sat for 5 months before making any significant changes to the ministry and in that time tried to be a learner of the nuances, health & rhythm the ministry had. I asked a lot of questions of students, leaders & key staff that I was working with. The last thing I wanted to do was come in with a sledgehammer ready to remodel when the people involved in the ministry had never even thought a remodel was necessary. I wanted to be able to clearly show not only the WHY we needed some adjustments but also HOW the adjustments were going to happen.
Names, Names & Names --
I am not always the greatest at remembering names. It was really embarrassing asking the same students their names even after a few months of being around the ministry. Regardless the size of the ministry I had to really focus on remembering the names of students & leaders. This was a big deal to me because I wanted it to communicate care as their pastor.
Ministry Events --
Momentum occurs when Ministry Events happen and people enjoy their experiences. It's is easy to see that People gravitate towards atmospheres of acceptance. The events we have planned and created for students, parents, families & leaders I have tried to lead with this truth in mind.
We've created new events, raised the level of excellence of how events occur, reformatted how we communicate what is happening & the list goes on. We want to make as many "wins" for our students & families as possible. The key was we got busy and not to be "busy" but to be effective leveraging key points in the lives of our students & families to point them to the Cross.
Developing a Team --
I spent a lot of time in the 1st year with focussed efforts & energies to help create a clearer volunteer base as well as job descriptions. I wanted our leaders who serve students to know exactly what is expected of them as well as how to do it. Recruiting, training, meeting, talking, eating, hiring, removing, praying & leading teams is not easy & transitions take time. But each week has been another chance to help move people forward. This has been & still is the most challenging aspect of the transition for our ministry but the gains we've made have been really healthy.
The past two years has been working on taking steps towards health for our ministry and now we're going to work on taping some leaps. The ministry areas we are going to take some leaps from is because we have a solid platform to jump from, a solid team to work with & some key ministry "wins" behind us to leverage.