small group leader, youth ministry, student ministry


By Doug Franklin April 12, 2011

I am reposting this blog from my wife Angie’s blog over at LeaderTreks International.

So often, ministry is a really hard job.  It can be lonely.  It can put you under a magnifying glass.  It can have unrealistic expectations, and results aren’t always clear.  Its easy in ministry to fall back on survival.  Surviving is key, getting through the next event, keeping your boss happy, and finding a sliver of time to sleep.  Once survival enters into our pattern, its incredibly hard to break it…but I think we were made to THRIVE.  Ministry is hard, but its also an adventure that an all-powerful God leads us on, as we hang on so tight that our knuckles turn white.  Paul speaks to this when he compares our life with Christ to a race…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb 12:1)

Running with perseverance is another way to say thrive.  But thriving requires focus and training.  As I’m sitting here with several youth workers from around the United States, here’s what I’m hearing from them on how to thrive in ministry.

1.)  Stop doing the same thing over and over again, just because its how you did it last year.  I think its the definition of insanity…expecting different results, by doing the same thing.  Continually ask yourself if there’s a better way.  Read your audience and make decisions that are outside of the box and effective with the people you’re ministering to.

2.)  Get input from the outside.  Often we lose creativity when we work and plan alone or within a small team.  If you are leading a small group ministry, visit some other small groups and observe how theirs are lead.  Ask questions of other leaders and get input and advice from them.  If you are training staff and volunteers, visit other training events in your community and pick up new ideas and methods from the outside.  Getting input from other people and other experiences will grow your creativity and help you thrive.

3.) Get into the right place. There are times when we need to bear down and do hard things.  There are times we need to persevere.  But there are also times when we need to recognize that we are in the wrong role.  If you are not living out your giftedness or strengths, or if disunity on your team becomes irreconcilable, then it may be that you are not in the right place.  Continue to offer your ministry and your role up to God for his leading and his blessing.  After all, He’s the one that invited you on the mission to begin with.

Thriving is hard, but its also full of joy and energizing.  Thriving is how we run the race.  It’s not based on results, but on the way in which we run. Thrive as you lead this year in ministry.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More