Monday, September 29, 2008

Where do we Restructure?

My husband said something today that I totally agree with. "It seems that leaders of ministries love to restructure leadership but tend not to restructure those they are ministering to."

How often is this true? We see that something isn't working, or at least we aren't seeing the level of success that we'd hope for, so we change the way we do things from the top down. But really, we need to look further. Maybe the root of ineffectiveness in a ministry isn't in the person that leads or how they go about leading (although I will acknowledge that this can be the case), but the structure of what they're leading. We get so caught up in doing things the way that they've always been done that when it doesn't work, we look to ourselves. Do I need to improve my communication? How can I change my training methods? If only we didn't have to work with people...

While leaders do need to look inward on a regular basis to see where they need to improve, none of those adjustments will be effective unless we're willing to take a step further and look at who it is we're ministering to. Over time, people change. The culture changes. Our churches change. What may have worked 5 years ago probably won't today. Not because it wasn't a good method to begin with, but because the people the method was designed for no longer exist--they've matured, grown older, or maybe even moved on.

We found an area that needed to be restructured this year--our entire elementary department. As a whole, it was hurting. The kindergartners weren't understanding the lessons while the fifth graders were disengaging. And the problem didn't lie in our large group teachers or small group leaders. Nor was it in our training (after all, we had our best year yet of volunteer training!). The problem was in how our kids were structured. And by simply separating one age group from the other, new ministry doors were opened. I've heard comment after comment from parents about how much their new 4th & 5th graders are loving Bridge 45. I see kindergartners understand the lessons, while third graders are still involved.

And now that we've restructured those we've ministered to, I can start looking at improving other details of our ministry--without feeling like nothing works!

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