It Takes Time (Part 1)
By Phil Bell
Summer is often a great time to evaluate how our ministries are doing, when our personal and ministry schedules are a little more flexible. If you are like me, you’ll catch yourself looking at what you have done and wish you were further ahead. It’s easy to take side-glances at other ministries and feel insufficient because you are not able to do all they are doing. We often compare ourselves to established ministries and develop inferiority complexes about our own. But we forget one important thing: our ministry journey will take time.
It takes time…
…To build trust. With the students you work with, the parents you partner with, and the leaders who lead with you. Even if you have come into a healthy situation, people still need time to learn who you are and what you stand for. If you have come into a challenging environment, it may take even longer to build trust. In that situation, your steps must be lighter.
…To bring clarity to the vision. The reality is this: even if you had a great plan and purpose in your last church, it might not work in the new place. Even if you feel like your plan is solid and easy to understand, you can’t assume students, parents, or leaders will jump on board, even after a couple of years. Clarity comes easier when people have heard and seen a plan in action for at least a couple of years. Therefore, if you are building a ministry and adding components as you go, people might not yet see your vision with clarity.
…To develop leaders. Only after a few years will you see the fruit of your investment of meeting with leaders and training them for ministry. There’s no way to know beforehand which leaders are in for the long haul and whom you can depend on to be your key players. In my ministry, I ask for a high level of commitment, and I have some incredible leaders. But the truth is, it takes time to develop self-sufficient leaders who have good chemistry with my vision and direction. Prepare yourself for lots of coffee meetings, lunches, hang out times, and training days.
…To build relationships. We live in a shallow world where students “don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” (I am sure you have heard that before.) But let’s face it, students have adults coming in and out of their lives all the time, and even if you are the most likable guy or gal in the world, it will take time for students to let you into their world. Commit to consistency and longevity. These things are key to showing that you care.
Finally, if any of us takes a look at other successful ministries around us, our first response should be, “Praise God for what he is doing there.” Second, we should remember, “It must have taken time.”
Check back next week for the second part of this two-part post.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry… Read More