Organizing Tips for your Ministry
So you find yourself in the leadership (or THE leader) of a ministry or group at St. Paul's. What now? Here are some basic starting points and organizing tips for making sure you are all heading in the same direction and getting others meaningfully involved in your ministry.
1. MISSION STATEMENT - As one of your first acts, have all the key members of the group or ministry agree on a basic Mission Statement or Purpose. What are you trying to do? What is your reason for getting together or meeting each month? A Mission Statement is a basic compass, that makes sure that everyone has the same general goals in mind and is headed in the same general direction. It can be as simple as a single sentence, such as "To educate, promote and foster principles of simpler living at St. Paul's and the surrounding community." As new ideas and events are suggested, bounce them off the Mission Statement as a way to make sure you are furthering the goals of the ministry.
2. FRACTALIZE - Instead of a typical committee structure, consider organizing your ministry as a Fractal so that everyone has a meaningful role; that helps grow the ministry. Here's a simple how-to:
STEP 1: Make a list of the various "tasks" or "jobs" that need to happen in order for the ministry to be a success. For example:
(a) Leader - runs the meetings, calls/emails meeting reminders, keeps folks on task, etc.
(b) Leader-in-training - so that the leader has someone to fill in if they cannot run a meeting, and is developing a natural successor;
(c) Communications - in charge of emailing reminders about events and meetings to the group, keeping and maintaining (and expanding the mailing list);
(d) New Member welcome and incorporation - responsible for making sure new members who express an interest in the group or ministry are contacted and invited to participate
(e) Publicity - drafts posters, announcements, and so on to let the community know about upcoming events.
(f) Chaplain - someone who is spiritually focused and interested in helping make sure the group or ministry is always grounded in the Gospel as well as their mission statement
(g) Recorder - takes notes as the meetings and distributes them to all members so they can track the decisions made and the agenda for next time.
And so on... The list is entirely up to you and your ministry's needs.
Step 2: Match members with the appropriate skills, interests, passions or experience with the various roles. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes not. The key is that resist just assigning jobs, but rather try to match up their talents with the task. If there is no one available to take on certain responsibilities, it's time to start recruiting! Also, some fractals, such as the communications team, might be 3 or 4 people or more.
3. Plan regular organizing meetings. Consider holding them at someone's home or at a coffee house so people can feel more comfortable and get to know each other. Use the time to review goals, plan events, activities and make sure the team is operating as it should. Ask the group Chaplain to open with a prayer or prepare a spiritual reflection or short bible study so the group can always remind themselves why they are organizing in the first place. Ask if there are any prayer concerns from the group. Remember, its not just what our ministries do that is important to God, but how we do our work together.
4. Limited Term of Office - Agree on a limited term for service, be it 12 months, 2 years, etc. -- whatever makes sense for your ministry. That doesn't mean that people cannot continue to serve in a second or third "term," but it is healthy for a ministry to continually renew itself and allow folks to move on and let new folks move into positions of leadership.
5. Recruitment - Create a culture of invitation in your ministry. Practice the 'empty chair' at your meetings or gatherings as a reminder to invite new people to join in. Make it a habit to ask the group for names of friends who might be interested in joining your ministry and invite them. Have an occasional, 'bring a friend' to your ministry gatherings to encourage new members. Have a presence at coffee hour - staff a table and advertise what you do and invite folks to learn more.