It’s January and the gyms are packed. They’re making money hand over fist this month with everyone making New Year’s Resolutions to finally get in shape. And when I go to the gym in February it will be back to normal. People are notorious for making huge goals at the New Year and then not following through. That’s why I want to give you a couple of small changes you can realistically make this year that will change your church in 2015. You’ll be surprised by how small degrees of change that you make in your trajectory today can pay dividends in the future. So here are four small changes that can make a big deal in your church in 2015.
1. Start Hand Writing Notes.
Every week, set aside 30 minutes to write a couple of notes and send them in the mail. It can be a thank you to a generous giver or a volunteer. It can be encouraging words to a staff member. You can send a note to say thanks for visiting to a guest. Or send a simple “I prayed for you today,” to someone going through a difficult time. Nothing beats a handwritten note. It’s a simple personal touch that says you care, and it makes you more authentic and accessible as a leader. Yes, this means using an actual pen to actually write something and put it in the mail. Not an email, not a text, not a direct message on social media but an actual letter.
2. Build an Integrated Ministry Calendar.
Get your ministry staff or leaders together and spend the time to build one integrated calendar for the year. Include weekend teaching series, all church events, and segment ministry calendars like Children’s Ministry and Student Ministries. You’ll quickly discover where ministries are in competition with each other, fuel islands of strength, and you’ll be able to simplify your efforts and make sure everyone is moving in the same direction.
3. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate.
Take some time with your team to build a list of every ministry at your church (this might actually take a lot of time for some teams). Then ask four simple questions about them: 1) What’s Working? 2) What’s Wrong? 3) What’s Confusing? 4) What’s Missing? Then optimize what’s working, change what’s wrong, clarify what’s confusing and add what’s missing.
4. Join a Leadership Coaching Network.
The whole church gets better when the leader gets better. You can be inspired at a leadership conference and hear a lot of leadership theory; or you spend the time to be around other leaders who are in the trenches, engage in leadership exercises, read and discuss great leadership books and trends, and discover new systems and strategies that you can implement in your local church context. Here’s a link if you’re interested in taking this step.