Less is More – 5 strategies to getting more ministry done

Often when working with worship bands the phrase “less is more” will be used. We often think that more fills means the song will magically become better. Usually and I mean always, it just ends up making a huge mess. At the end of the rehearsal the band is frustrated, and by the end of the worship service the music savvy congregants walk out the back door and the pastor is ready to strangle whoever did the arrangements. The same applies to our lives in ministry, less is more.

Youth pastors and youth ministry personnel falls into the category of support staff. With the title of support staff you will have extra expectations that could include janitor, insect control, painter, driver, puppeteer, chef , professional organizer, life coach, and if you’re lucky your carpentry skills will get a work out. There are of course days that you will have a chance at mentoring some students or opening the word of God. But with all the extras how can you get to the point where you can apply the less is more principle? You could even ask why it is important. To answer the second question first, because your sanity and moral purity is key to lasting in ministry! If you go postal over some burned chili at a potluck dinner, I would venture to say that the kingdom of God has suffered that day.

So on to the second question, how do you do less and more at the same time while keeping the board happy and keeping spiritual productivity at a fruitful state. The question comes back to another question. Are you looking for numbers and acknowledgement or are you looking for life change and something that will last? Our prime concern is clearly the spiritual development of our students and if we choose long lasting life change over wearing ourselves and volunteer teams out we will end up saving pain in the end. Think about the hours you put into ministry. Then consider that your core team of leaders is doing 75% of what you’re doing but they also have school and work on the side. Don’t take this the wrong way but this usually means that our volunteers are giving 150-175% of their emotional, spiritual and physical energies to match our 100%. This was initially a hard realization for me because I am a very driven person. So now that you see that my position is saving yourself and your volunteers for the sake of the students that need you, let’s move on.

So let’s talk strategies:

1. Breathe: Make sure that you are taking time for you and your family. I know it’s cliche but it is really true. Your time away from the church and away from ministry is just as important as your time preaching. Even Jesus took time to rest.

2. Leader time: Doing life with your leaders means that you are able to speak into their lives anywhere you feel the spirit’s prompting. Often we have to earn that and save it for the alter call. Have your team over to watch UFC and BBQ some ribs, it is a great way to break down walls that took years to build up. Besides it shows that we are real people too. Even Jesus took time away from the twelve with the three.

3. Scheduling conflicts: Often times things will come up that you know are not going to be life giving, and you just can’t get rid of them. With things like this make sure to balance in something that day that is life giving for you.  Taking complaints about you + golf = balance (for me at least, but you get the idea) At the same time if someones cousins brother’s friends gardener needs a ride to the mall… learn to say no. Even Jesus made corrections to his schedule.

4. Combining things: Doing ministry every night is annoying, you might say no… but give it a few more months. If you are doing so much that you can’t keep track of what’s happening anymore, then it’s time to analyze. 1. What would you never want to miss? 2. What do you leave to the last minute? 3. What do you plan 6 months in advance? 4. What could be combined? and finally 5. What is creating visible fruit? These are some great questions to ask yourself when considering your fall and winter programming! Less is really more which brings us to the next point…

5. Ministering from strength: When you have a healthy balance in your life you can minister to your students from strength, they deserve that and so do you. Not everything on the calendar can get 100%, You’re better off not cheating somewhere, that way no one gets hurt. Jesus always ministered from strength.

Bottom line, just be you and don’t get over tired!


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