Atypical Ministers: Why You Need Them

I never saw picking up crushed ping pong balls off the floor in my job description, but it’s okay.  One of the biggest hits of our 5th/6th grade program Ascent is the few minutes before we begin when 5th grade boys gather as many ping pong balls as possible and start whaling one another with them.  It’s hilarious, but then it leaves a mess.  I don’t mind cleaning up messes, especially the ones I create, but there are a few responsibilities in my ministry that I wish didn’t exist.
I don’t like office work (i.e. filing), I’m not a fan of writing discussion questions, putting together a power point presentation, or shopping for materials for a game.  But then again who does?
Atypical Ministers
These are the men and women who do the things you don’t want to do, but you have a hard time finding them because you think to yourself, “If I don’t like doing this, who will?” But let’s face it you need these people more than you need food, without them you are stuck doing things that drain you, when you should be doing those things that fuel you.  So how do you find this strange bunch?
Step 1: Make a List
You won’t find the people to help you out, if you don’t know where you need them.  To figure this out, make a list of all the tasks you have to do in a week and circle the ones that drain you.  But before you go replacing yourself in these areas make sure these are areas you can pass off (for example, you can’t have your ministers talk to angry parents for you…that’s cruel and possibly illegal in some countries)
Step 2: Make Your Needs Known
Some might call it complaining, but if you don’t put your needs out there, know one is going to know that you need them.  Who do you share them with?  Your key leaders, volunteers, parents, teenagers, even your pastor.  When you can talk to other people about these needs they’ll either step up or help you find that person.  Also make your needs known through one on one conversations, because then you can sell it better than making a public plea or sending out a mass mailing. I know it might take more time, but you can efficiently express why it is you need this person.  When you share these needs be sure not to devalue the task.  When you devalue the task you end up devaluing the person willing to do the task.  Then no one is going to want to help you.
Step 3: Make It A Ministry
Our church has made sweeping, vacuuming and cleaning toilets into a ministry called Ops.  I believe you can make office work, shopping for materials, and cleaning giant bean bags a ministry, you just need to give it purpose.  For us those task are important to our vision(consistent, irresistible and authentic) because if we want to be consistent we need to be organized and if we want to be irresistible we need to be clean.  If you can paint that picture for these brave men and women then you show them how you and the ministry values them.
I’m slowly but surely identifying the atypical ministers in my church, but I know that coming back and reexamining what it is I need has been a challenge.  When it comes to recruiting these ministers I’ve been great at sharing my needs, but then under utilizing them.  When you find these atypical ministers, don’t take them for granted, don’t look at them like your regular volunteers, give them purpose and make them a part of the team.  And no matter how many you get continue to identify the holes you need filling and the task you need to delegate.  Believe it or not there is a lot of them out there.

What is something on your plate that you wish you could hand off to someone else?
How do you recruit atypical ministers for youth ministry?

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