“Think of ways to encourage one another through outbursts of love and good deeds”
Hebrews 10:24 NIV
“People First, Tasks Second” advised Pastor Jon standing at the whiteboard. The Core Value was drilled into church staff. Pastor Jon was doing his best to establish a culture on our team that would take good care of their volunteers. To my husband doing church with excellence, meant taking care of the people around you. Excellence did not mean that we ran around worried and frustrated because of a misspelled power point slide or forgotten microphone battery. Doing ministry with excellence meant, keeping our focus on the real goal, seeing people grow in their faith. People first, tasks second. How do we do this? By being sensitive to the needs of our volunteers. By taking time to pray even with a busy Sunday morning schedule. Frequently giving words of praise and appreciation. This was Pastor Jon’s definition of doing ministry with excellence. Taking excellent care of people, especially our volunteers.
As a task-oriented person, it’s challenging for me to both focus on the goal and give volunteers the personal care they need. I am one of these ladies who daily writes out a list with neatly drawn boxes put a check in by each item. I love the satisfaction of filling in my blank boxes one by one. I have been known to write down a task after it’s completed, just so I can enjoy the feeling of filling in a momentarily empty box. At the end of the day, I can look back on my list with the satisfaction of a day well spent. Ministry wives like myself do not need any help from our spouses to find something to do, we seem to overload ourselves all on our own. Putting people first and tasks second takes sheer determination for me. There are days when I will tell myself, “My task today is this person.” It’s my way of breaking free from my to-do list. I may not get a lot of other things done that day, but my task that day was a person.
As a Pastor’s wives, there are people that just want to be near you and get to know you. Each of them cutting into your time, for me, they are cutting up my To Do List. One way I reconcile getting the tasks done and spending time with people is by inviting them into my work. Remembering to Taking other’s with you as you do the tasks of ministry is a great way to pour into people and get tasks done at the same time.
I have heard it said, “Never do ministry alone.” We should always be taking someone along with us. You can help others gain experience in ministry and at the same time be deepening relationships as you choose to include others.
You can learn a lot about people as you do the simple tasks of setting up Sunday school chairs or picking up crayons. It’s during these times that you learned of unemployment or a sickness in the family. It is those times when you just pause for a moment to pray with a volunteer, that says so much about how much you care. While serving as a children’s ministry director there were times I felt that a volunteer wasn’t serving so much for the kids, as much as they were just to have a godly woman in their life. They wanted to be close that they might receive personal counsel. Putting people first and tasks second, added a dimension to ministry that has brought amazing fulfillment.
As you take others’ along with you in the tasks of ministry, hear what Tony Morgan has to say in his book, “Simply Strategic Stuff.”
- Identify tasks others could do.
- Find individuals capable of handling them.
- Share your vision and ask these people to fill the roles.
- Tell them how to do it.
- Show them how to do it.
- Have them show you how to do it.
- Monitor their progress.
- Celebrate their success.
As you take a close look at the eight steps that Tony mentions above, the volunteer is not without you until step seven. And during step seven and eighty, you are still coming back, checking on them and encouraging them along.
Ladies, instead of us running around to the point of exhaustion, let’s get organize and gather people around us. Let’s never do ministry alone. People First, Tasks Second.