Everyone likes to be ahead. When you are ahead you feel more in control, you feel like you are at a manageable pace and life is good. To fall behind can happen for a number of reasons. If you are tired, confused or, overwhelmed it’s easy to let the work pile up. In youth ministry, falling behind is constantly checking emails, always responding to phone calls, putting together projects last minute, not knowing what you are going to talk about tonight, etc.
What if that could change? What if you could be ahead of the curve?
The reason you are falling behind is because you’ve learned to be reactive instead of proactive in your ministry. To become proactive one must be intentional or else you let life happen and you are playing catch up. If you spend the majority of your time trying to keep up then you’ll miss the important aspects of ministry, like building relationships. So, you want to get ahead; however, to get there you need to know what reactive ministry looks like compared to proactive.
Reactive: You Change Because Something Happens – Proactive: You Change Paradigms
When you get behind you are at the mercy of the leader. If they do this, then you have to do that. Granted we’ll never be in total control; however, as youth ministers we have the responsibility to change paradigms. You could be evolving what ministry looks like in your church or you could initiate a project that changes the way teens share Christ. The idea is to look at the paradigms, problems and characteristics that shape and limit you ministry and ask, “How can we improve on it?”
Reactive: You Look To Make Things Right – Proactive: You Always Set High Expectations
When you mess up you know that an apology is necessary. When you make a mistake, it’s important to make it right. There is no way of being perfect; however, if you spend your time focusing on NOT messing up you’ll never be satisfied. Instead, you need to focus on how you CAN be better by setting goals and expectations. When we change the perspective from negative to positive we live up to the challenge. If you are always worried about messing up instead of focused on success you’ll find yourself frustrated.
Reactive: You Are Stuck In Customer Service – Proactive: You Work On Communication
There are those days that fly by and all you’ve done is checked email, and voicemail. Work just seems reactionary because you are letting others dictate your day. Granted emails need to be answered; however, you need to be aggressive and proactive with your communication. Make sure your website is up to date, and make sure you are clear and consistent with vision, mission and any changes coming to your ministry. When you work on communication you dictate what people need to know and what you want them to do.
Reactive: You Handle Everything – Proactive: You Share The Burden
Simply said; but, very hard to execute. Whether or not you want to admit it, you need help. Even if you are successful in what you do, you need help to increase your capacity and to be more effective. The problem is you try to do everything on your own. You are limited and when you allow your limits to overcome you, it puts you in a hole. Embrace your limits by delegating tasks that amplify your weaknesses and pull you away from your purpose. You may hate something that someone else loves; therefore, give it to them. When you can share the burden you increase your capacity, which will put you ahead.
Going from reactive ministry to proactive ministry is all about changing your mindset. Granted there will be the days when you have to play catch up; however, the idea is to make those days few and far between. If anything make lists, plan things out and create a schedule for your day. Know what’s important, urgent and necessary and focus on those areas. Delegate responsibilities and share the burden, then you won’t find yourself falling behind.
What other characteristics does a proactive ministry or leader obtain?