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STARTING OVER: The First 5 Things You Should Do, Plus 15 More

You’re about to launch a children’s ministry or you know the ministry you’re running needs a restart. But how do you begin a new beginning? How do you start a restart? Take this chance to learn from a leader who’s had to start over many times. Discover the most important things to do first—because how you start will determine where you end up.

In the last 40 years, I’ve had six ministry changes: two in my 20s, two in my 30s and two in my 50s. During these 40 years, there’s been many dozens of re-inventions and do overs in the ministries I’ve overseen.

First, order is everything in starting over . . .

A. Do your homework.

1. Study the past (what has been done).

a. What worked?

b. What didn’t?

2. Ask lots of questions.

3. Observe for yourself.

4. Define a win (definitions are huge).

a. Pastor/leadership

b. Parents

c. Kids

d. Current volunteers

5. Focus on understanding the vision of the house (includes policies and procedures).

B. Fix something small (build change).

C. Serve as well as lead.

1.You gain those you serve:

a. Kids

b. Families

c. Workers

2. Let them know you appreciate them.

3. Look for ways to spoil others.

D. Connect with the leadership above you.

1. Go to church (receive).

2. Listen to his teachings (hear his heart).

3. Know his dreams.

4. Learn how he/she leads and solves problems.

5. What does he/she value?

E. Get to know your team (staff and unpaid). Relationships matter!

1. Strengths

2. Abilities

3. Weaknesses

F. What tools are needed to cause others to excel?

1. Everyone does better with the right tools

2. Teaching resources

3. Furniture and furnishings

4. Audio Visual

5. Technology (apps and subscriptions)

6. Environment look and feel

G. Study the present structure.

1. Growth or maintenance?

2. Is there a more effective way (push authority down)?

H. Join the team/be a friend.

1. Flow laterally.

2. You must be a friend to have a friend.

3. Rejoice with those who rejoice.

4. Be kind and helpful to everyone.

I. Determine where you’re going (what, why, when and how).

1. You cannot lead others if you don’t know where you are going.

2. Put it on paper and share with your pastor (summarize).

J. Communicate with everyone needed (not just kids).

1. Parents

2. Volunteers

3. Church staff and leadership

1. Stay connected

2. FYI

K. Update the job descriptions.

1. Help people know what to do.

2. Give everyone everyone’s job description.

3. And anything else . . .

4. Update every two years.

L. Enlarge the abilities of others.

1. The time spent in leadership development is never wasted.

2. Books, articles, CD teachings, podcasts, lunch or coffee.

3. Start a small group or leadership group.

M. Start adding to the team.

1. Depth at all key positions.

2. On the job training is best!

N. Update the policies and procedures.

1. Let everyone know how.

2. Keep it simple.

3. By this time you should have identified things that have been frustrating workers—eliminate those now!

O. Model; set the example (be visible in worship).

1. We talked about connecting with your leader now set an example for the people.

2. Enter in.

P. Use the church calendar.

1. Respect other’s events.

2. Watch for things from other departments that cost money coming out of the same paycheck for parents.

3. Do your homework first before you ask.

Q. Master money matters.

1. Churches are like your house.

2. Understand the budget process and operate by it.

3. How I budget:

a. Determine goals and what to accomplish

b. Make a plan (Calendar)

c. Price plan

d. Get it approved

R. Shelve the old programs at the old church.

1. Never use the phrase “at my old church. . . . ”

2. Nobody loves leftovers.

S. Be creative and open to change.

1. Always be on the lookout for a better way to do what you do.

2. Be flexible (same actions bring same results).

T. Do what only you can do, allow others to do what you are doing that they can do (build trust).

Second, here are keys to remember along the way . . .

A. Prove your faithfulness now!

1. It’s what you’re doing now, not what you’ve done in the past.

2. Be faithful in the small things.

3. Allow your gifts to make room for you.

B. Don’t be critical of the past program, even if it was bad.

1. When you criticize the past program, your workers will feel attacked and threatened.

2. Let your actions prove your expertise not your mouth.

C. Always have a strategy or plan.

1. Let them know where you are headed.

2. Let them know why.

3. Let them know how.

D. Realize some people will quit.

E. God will raise up people with your vision, if you communicate it.

F. Never look backward; keep people looking forward.

G. Stay focused.

Third, remember, ministry is a marathon not a sprint!

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