It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding. ~Proverbs 2:6, GNT~
Priorities. Decisions. How do you make the right moves in managing your ministry? Whether you are directing the inclusion program in your church or running a national disability ministry, there are always the ugly duties that no one sees. There are budgets to manage. Announcements to be made. Events to coordinate. Volunteers to recruit. So how do you decide what gets shuffled to the top of the pile? What stays and what goes?
God brought this topic to mind last week as I was doing this very thing. Like a nurse in an emergency room, we must direct traffic based upon the level of critical importance. It is never easy for a leader. We want to lead with excellence, and in an organized fashion, but chaos never fails to bump into us. Plans get derailed. The human factor of fallibility is ever-present. I struggle with it, and my heart goes out to my colleagues who, I know, are doing the same.
Here are a few thoughts God has laid on my heart:
- What is the Lord telling your spirit? Do you find quiet time to connect with Him each day, so that you know you can be in tune with His prompting? He gave you that instinct for a reason. He often speaks to you through it. Although, you may want to test it to make sure you are not pursuing your own ambitions, don’t be afraid to ultimately step out in faith and follow what the Lord is stirring up in your spirit and speaking to you through His word.
- Does this fit with your business plan? One of the most solid pieces of advice one of my colleagues suggested to me was to get a firm business plan in place. Even the smallest of ministries can do it. I highly recommend The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan for its ease of use. I also know leaders who have found Jesus, CEO by Laurie Beth Jones to be very helpful. Whatever you use, having your plan on paper will give you a yardstick with which to measure tasks or projects and their worthiness.
- What is your natural “pecking order”? It should be God first. Spouse and children second. Work next. Everything else falling after that. In ministry, it is easy to get our work confused with putting God first. After all, we work for Him. However, it is not the Lord’s will that we serve to the abandonment to our first mission field, our spouses and children. Evaluate your priorities based upon how that order of importance falls.
- Has God opened doors in this area? A number of years ago, our organization decided to abandon the notion of training churches in building an inclusion program or special needs Sunday School. We found the Lord was closing doors for us in this area. Our core competency falls much more in the area of ministering specifically to parents. And we have wonderful colleagues who excel in that very area where God is closing doors for us. It has been far more fruitful, time better spent, walking through the open doors of building innovative programs around parents, and referring churches to wonderful ministries who are doing the other work with excellence.
I pray that these few insights help with your overwhelm today. Our Boss doesn’t require for us to do it all. However, we most reflect His glory when we do what He is calling us to do with high quality.