I was talking to someone in children’s ministry the other day about policies and planning. I shared how you always need to be preparing for growth. If you don’t plan for it, then you won’t be ready when it arrives. That’s why policies need to be forward thinking, and not just focused on “today”. I often see policies written with “today’s” structure, then when a staff position changes, or a small re-structuring of the ministry occurs, the policy becomes obsolete and irrelevant. Or a situation occurs due to growth and people question about how to handle it as it arises, instead of preparing for it. Without planning, rooms quickly become full, chairs become scarce, and people sense that there is no room for them, or sense dis-organization. Either way, it harms your ministry and may actually deter growth.
As I was sharing with them, this thought came to me…..
I thought about a family. If a couple is expecting a child, they begin to prepare by setting up a nursery, getting infant clothing, car seats, etc…. They are expecting their family to grow and so they prepare for it. They do not wait until the child is born and then try to figure out how to get things in order.
That’s the way it should be in your ministry. You should be expecting, planning for the potential growth that is coming. If your ministry, Awana club, etc. grew by a mere 10%, say 5%, could you handle it? Would you know what to do? Would you have the necessary policies in place, the needed seating, the space, the leadership, etc?
The opposite of planning and preparing for growth, is making things comfortable. As my wife and I get older and our children are grown, we don’t make plans for growth in the family. We make plans to make things more comfortable for us. Not to expect more people (though some plans are made for the anticipation of grandchildren!), not to expect growth. If you are not expecting in ministry, then you think about what chairs you have today, you write policies for today, you don’t consider people visiting, you don’t anticipate people bringing friends, you are content with the way things are, with who is there, content to make things comfortable for the time.
How about you and your ministry? Are you expecting?
A good resource is Stretch – Structuring Your Ministry For Growth by Jim Wideman.