Six quick ways you can improve your ministry

I’ve been thinking about six areas of ministry and how to help clergy get better at them. Here are six quick ways to improve your ministry by working on each.

  1. Leadership.

    Just ask yourself the question, “What do I want?” Do it every day. I’ve said this before, and it’s still true. Every time I ask a coaching client this question, they say dreamily, “That’s a good question…” If you’re like me, asking yourself what you want goes against the grain-it feels selfish. Yet I’ve come to experience it as a clarifying question. It helps me discern what’s most important to me. The more I ask it, the more quickly that happens.

  2. Money.

    Mention money and the spiritual life in a sermon once a month. The whole sermon doesn’t have to be on that topic, but I’d be astounded if you couldn’t find a natural way to fit it in. If you focus on the lectionary gospel text, there’s a good chance you’ll see something. This will help normalize preaching about money for you and for your people.

  3. Productivity.

    Take thirty seconds and write a purpose for your day. I’ve been doing this, and I find it gets me out of feeling overwhelmed and on track almost instantly. It will also help you take your day off if you write a non-work purpose for that day. And if you take your day off rather than letting work spill into it, you’ll be more productive on the other days.

  4. Relationships.

    Each week, talk to a key leader about something not related to church. Find out how they are doing. It doesn’t have to take an hour – a 15-minute phone call will do it. This is valuable in itself, and it will also help strengthen your leadership. No relationships, no leadership – and relating to significant lay leaders is particularly important for pastors

  5. Personal growth.

    Read at least a few verses of Scripture that are not related to Sunday’s sermon. (You can try this practice if you like.) If you want to take it further, you could do a brief study on it. You only need a few minutes to make a real difference, and spending only minutes on it daily will help you keep it up over time.

  6. Communication.

    Read your next newsletter aloud before you send it in. I did it with this article, and it helped. You’ll find something to improve, guaranteed.

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