Are You Doing Ministry Like An Angry Tourist?

  • 8 November 2016
  • Geoff Kullman

Angry TouristAre you doing ministry like an angry tourist? It’s a serious question and an important one to answer if we are to have any hope of effectively communicating to a new generation of millennials.

Let me explain:

Imagine yourself on vacation in a foreign country. Maybe your mind’s eye takes you to an urban metropolis where you take in the sights and sounds that only a place like Paris or Shanghai can offer. Or perhaps your dream destination is a nearly-secluded tropical villa serving umbrella-laden drinks all day long.

Got your vacation destination locked in? Good.

Next, imagine yourself browsing around some of the local shops. It’s probably one of those tourist trap places filled with cheesy “I went to [insert location] and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” shirts and stuffed animals embossed with whatever the city’s tourist slogan happens to be this year.

You’ve found a few items that pass the grunt test and you go to the cashier to pay—only, there’s a problem with your credit card machine. Suddenly, you and the cashier are trying to communicate with each other to solve this life-defining transaction of plush toys and tourist apparel when you realize that they don’t speak a word of English.

And that’s when it happens: you become an angry tourist.

In this moment of frustration at the inability to effectively communicate, you start to yell, scream, and insult their intelligence simply because they don’t know how to speak your language even though you are in their country.

It can be difficult news for people of faith to admit, but we now live in a post-Christian era, a time in history when the gospel narrative is no longer the story that our culture or country holds in common. In many ways, we must now consider ourselves foreigners speaking a different language even within our own country.

How to Avoid the Summer Collapse

  • 8 June 2016
  • Keith Reed

Dads and grads receive a lot of attention during the month of June. But this is also the season when many church programs near their finish line. For some ministry leaders, this means added responsibilities. This can also mean more hours and more stress. 

June might feel like the final leg of your ministry marathon and your lungs might be screaming for you to stop. You might find yourself dreaming of a post-marathon collapse, but if you choose to jump off the treadmill before cooling down, you will feel the effects of this decision for the rest of the summer.

Cooling down is essential for the well-being of yourself and the people around you. The discipline of gradually slowing yourself to a stop will help you recover from what you just completed and also prepare you for what’s next. The result is better short-term health with the added bonus of long-term sustainability.

Your mind, body, and spirit need adequate recovery time and slamming on the brakes after exiting the highway is a dangerous idea. I’m not suggesting that you cancel your vacation plans or ignore the urge to recline your chair. These are critical components to the leadership cycle. Just make sure that you ease into your recovery time so that when you fully disengage from your ministry responsibilities you can recuperate more restfully. 

Here are some suggestions for your cool down cycle:

  • Use your rear-view mirrors 
    Look back on the past season of ministry. What went well and why? Did you reach your goals and accomplish your ministry objectives? What will you do differently next time?

  • Check your blind spots
    Is there a critical issue or challenge that will require additional attention over the summer? Think of scenarios like leadership needs, technology changes, new initiatives, or approaching deadlines.

  • Express your gratitude  
    As you evaluate the past season, pay attention to the contributions that your team members have made. Find creative ways of thanking them and do this in ways that they will most appreciate.

How To Create Surveys That People Actually Want To Take

  • 30 May 2016
  • Randy Wollf

Taking surveys is a chore. This is what most people will think when you ask them to take your survey. And yet, the results from a well-designed survey can help you determine the next steps to take in order to accomplish your ministry goals.  

The key is designing a survey that people will want to take. Here are several tips on how to design excellent surveys that will provide you with excellent data. 

  1. Establish a clear purpose

If you can’t state the purpose of your survey in one sentence, don’t go any further. You’ll be wasting your time and the time of those who do it. 

Once you identify your purpose, make sure to communicate this effectively. When people understand purpose, they feel empowered. Instead of feeling like a chore that has to get done, the survey can function as a tool that will serve their leaders well.  

  2. Create incentives

Simple incentives like a drawing for a gift card can often motivate people to complete a survey. Plus, a unique giveaway can also serve as a reminder that the survey is happening. 

In addition to physical incentives, help your audience understand that their feedback is an important part of your decision-making process. While it is true that people want to be heard, people will be even more motivated to share their thoughts if they feel assured that their opinions will make a difference. 

  3. Craft every question to serve the overall purpose of the survey

Ask yourself what you’ll do with the responses you receive. If you don’t know why the question is important (or what changes you’d be willing to make based on the responses), the question should be removed.