Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Developing Depth Through Ministry

Over the years I have learned the hard way that doing the job alone, just doesn’t work. I should have listened to Three Dog Night. They tried to teach me that “One Is The Loneliest Number That You’ll Ever Do”, but I just would not listen. Being a avid football fan I should have noticed that the teams with the most depth at key positions always win championships! (Roll Tide, Go Saints!)  Moses also learned the hard way about doing the job alone. In Exodus chapter 18 we are told about how Moses did everything in ministry by himself and it was causing problems on the job. It was hard on the people as well, it was also not good for Moses, and it was not good for his family. Jethro, Moses father-in-law gave him some very wise advise and counsel. Simply put he was told to build depth!

 I know what you are thinking, “My volunteers can’t teach a class or do children’s ministry as well as I can.” That may be true but there was a time in your life when you could not minister as good as you can now. Someone allowed you to sorry all over a group of kids and get better by doing the ministry hands on. We must give our volunteers the same chance we were given to learn by doing. If you are doing things that others can do, it will keep you from doing what only you can do. When you are doing the things in ministry that only you can do that is when you will hear well done my good and faithful servant. Let’s take a look at the most famous biblical account of delegation. It’s found in Acts 6 verses 1-4 “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." Here we see it first hand, the disciples were being kept from doing what only they could do, by doing a project in ministry that others could do. There are people in your church who need to be needed more than you need the help. They will never be able to rise up and free you to do what only you can do and to accomplish what you have been put on this earth to accomplish if you continue to do most of the ministry as well as the majority of the oversight yourself.

The world would be in a mess without supervisors and coordinators to serve us in middle management positions. Why can’t we set up middle managers to help us. Phone calls and the returning of messages are some other projects that can be easily delegated to others. I would recommend that you be slow to delegate the handling of difficult decisions to others. Jethro warned Moses of this very thing in Exodus 18: 21-22.”But select capable men from all the people --men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain --and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. “ You cannot delegate the responsibilities of building relationships with your key workers. This is a job that you must do. Defining the vision, evaluation or fruit inspection as well as being ultimately responsible for the success of the children’s ministry of your church are projects only the leader should do.

With these things in mind let’s take a look at ten steps I use in effective delegation that will help you to develop depth in your volunteers through action and cause you to be a master of delegation and duplication.

1. Identify what you need to be doing. Let’s take a look at Acts 6: 2 one more time. “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.” The disciples were not too good to wait tables but this project was keeping them from what they needed to be doing. There are loads of good ideas and projects that keep us from doing the God inspired and directed projects, He has for us to do. I have come to realize that It’s more important that I train, guide, manage and recruit than teach, sing, perform and be the only person that the children identify with. The best thing I can do to grow is to allow others to be involved and not be a one man show.

2. Identify things others can do and let them do it. Start with jobs you are doing that others could do if they were properly trained and coached. Next identify areas you could use a worker if people were no problem. Don’t think that the same actions will bring different results because same actions always bring the same results. “If you want what you have never had, you must be willing to do what you have never done!” The same is true for every volunteer. You can’t build depth without allowing others to have playing time!

3. Qualify all workers. The disciples didn’t just turn this responsibility over to just anybody. They found people from among them. People who were known. There were requirements needed to do the job like being full of the Spirit and being full of wisdom. Jethro also gave Moses requirements for workers in Exodus 18:21 “But select capable men from all the people --men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. A major rule of delegation is qualify who you delegate responsibility to. Are they capable and able?

4. Define exactly what you want done. Everyone needs a job description. Especially volunteers! They also need checklist to show them what you want them to do as well as to provide a way to communicate with you what was done. Remember to always do what is best for the children and not what is only best for adults. Rotation doesn’t work in building volunteers through action. Look at verse 22 of Exodus 18, “Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. This was not a once a month job but something that was an all the time commitment.

5. Train and teach those you recruit. Exodus 18:20 tells us to “Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. You must model to others how you want it done. Classes are good, but hands on training is better. Christians are the only people group I know that confuse the word training with verbal instruction. Every secular job that offers training does so by verbal communication in addition to the hands on training and mentoring. You don’t have to be the only model. I use my staff, master teachers and coordinators to help me train and equip others. Everyone should be helping in the training and equipping process. 

more to come...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Vision Casting: What it is and how to do it

You’ve heard me say this over and over again. “If you aim at nothing,
you’ll hit it every time!” I believe you’ll never see your dreams and vision come to pass without a clear understand of where you are going, why you want to go there and how are you to get there. Vision is important. Every Christian leader knows by heart “Where there s no vision people perish.” I like to say it this way, “Where there is vision people flourish. I think in every list I have ever come up with in one of my leadership club lessons it’s started with… “Start with your vision.” To me all a vision is is to identify how you want your ministry to end up. With this in mind in children’s ministries there is a vision in each age group or ministry that makes up the overall vision.

Vision casting is simply, communicating the vision so others make your vision their own. Why is this so important? Vision determines action and outcome. Over the past 35 years I have thought many times about quitting children’s ministry. In the early years it was every Monday, in my forties it was to become a senior pastor. So why didn’t I quit? It’s simple; my vision wouldn’t allow me to quit. Then I realized something if my vision wouldn’t let me quit, if I could put this vision into others who help and serve they wouldn’t quit either. (You can read all about this in my book “Volunteers That Stick.”

So how do you successfully cast your vision in a way that others grasp it and own it? I’m glad you asked, let’s look at seven steps.

1. Start with discovering your vision. Pray, dream and hear from God firsthand what he wants for the children’s ministry you lead. I love to be still before the Lord and imagine the possibilities and His desires for my ministry. Ask and you shall find. When I draw close to Him, He always draws close to me. Ask him for a picture of the end result. 

2. Now, write it out. Take those thoughts and dreams and turn them into words. You’ll never turn your vision into reality until you’ve turned it into words. Habakkuk 2:2 is a great verse. It says, “Write the vision down and make it plain so they that read it can run with it.” As I write and study the vision I compare and examine my leadings by the written word of God.

3. Simplify it. That verse in Habakkuk not only tells me to write the vision down but to also make it plain. I try to put it into a single sentence if possible. If not one sentence then two or three at the most. Let the main thing be the main thing. How comes in your plan what you need to concentrate on now is what. Run it by someone who does not help in your ministry to make sure it is simple enough for them to understand it, Now write in down, keep it before you, write it on every publication. Commit it to memory and talk it up every time you are before people.

4. Create a plan to bring your vision to pass. Planning must always go before action. You’ve started with the end now go to the beginning. Determine exactly where you are. Now begin to think in small manageable steps or short-term goals. Focus on each step in the process being careful not to move too quickly or to skip a step.

5. Create structure to make it happen. Structure is the key to being able to move in the direction God wants you to go. You know where you want to go, you have a plan to get there now you must identify the people, positions, and giftings needed to pull it off. It’s not enough to just write job descriptions you need to also create policies and develop systems to make ministry reflexive.

6. Communicate the vision and plan every way you possibly can to your key leaders and staff! This is where you take what you’ve done so far and give it away. Casting vision is hard work and cannot be accomplished with just one method or part time. Speak it, put it in a brochure, make banners, and show pictures that explain it. Use video, interviews, and take every opportunity to communicate and explain your vision as well as your plan. This includes meetings! Spend time with the level of leaders directly under you and help them make your vision their own. This is an important step because they will impart your vision to others and you will not be alone in the vision casting process. This is something you must develop as a life habit and must become a part of your life-style.

7. Teach it all to your workers. What do I teach? Teach and explain your philosophy of ministry. Teach on your mission and overall goal. Teach your structure. If your workers don’t understand how authority works they won’t be people under authority. I also teach vision specifics. Things like what I want each child to become after they complete each ministry within our children’s department. I teach my plan in steps so it can be easily followed and understood.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Yancy!

Thirtythree years ago today I heard the three little words that changed my life forever ... "It's a girl!" Just like that I became a Dad for the very first time. That day was one of the most life changing and wonderful days of my life! To be honost every day since then has been pretty special because of the gift of that little girl in my life. Of all the titles, accomplishments and awards I've been given getting to be Yancy's Dad is the greatest honor that could ever be given to me. I'm so thankful for the woman of God she is. She's also a wonderful Mom, wife, sister and daughter. I have also had the honor of working with her and I can say that she's the hardest working employee I've ever had. She serves on my board at Jim Wideman Ministries and I'm amazed at the Godly wisdom that she brings to her old Dad.
I love her heart for God, her love for God's people, the faithfulness to the call on her life, and the way she loves her family but most of all I'm thankful that of all the men in the world God choose me to be her Daddy! So Happy Birthday Yancy Pants! I sure do love you! Thanks for being you!

Today only Yancy is having a 50% off sale at her webstore just use the code Birthday and you get the gift!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

There's An App For That!

Several years ago I came out with an app for the iPhone and iPad. Immediately I started hearing from Kidmin folks when are you going to have an app for Android phones? Well being a guy who went straight from a Commodore 64 to the world of Apple I had no plans to make one. My good friends at Roar have been telling me they could hook me up. They did a tremendous job on Yancy's 3 apps. If you have not downloaded her apps you should do so here. There is one for everything Yancy. There's another just for preschoolers. My grandson has this one on his iPad and iPod Touch and he loves it! There is another app for families called Roots for the Journey. (I've also included a link to this app in my new app.)

So speaking of new apps, a few months ago someone told me  they went to download my app from the app store and it could no longer be found. When I looked into it I found out that my developer didn't renew his license so after all I invested in it, I no longer had an app. So I called my friends at Roar and they went to work on a brand new app and yes they even made one for all you Android folks. 

So how do you download the all new Jim Wideman app? If you have the old one be sure and delete it, then download the new app for Apple  or the new app for Android by clicking on these links. Also this week I'd like for you to help me spread the word about this new app on your blogs, twitter or facebook. Be sure and check it out there's a lot of cool features and ways to connect with me and Jim Wideman Ministries. Use it to follow my twitter, my facebook, my instagram, my schedule, theClub, Infuse, and even CMConnect plus a whole lot more.

Once you download the app leave a comment here on the blog to have a chance to win some Kidmin goodies from Jim Wideman Ministries which will include your very own JW bobble head. I'll be giving away some stuff each day. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and then tweet this... "I just downloaded the new @jimwideman app and you can too @ #kidmin"