As a minister in a local church, I am often planning and implementing programs and events. Once one event or program is over, I need to at least be two to three programs ahead in my planning so that I can begin promoting for the next event coming up.
A couple of weeks ago, I put together a Program/Event Planning Guide for someone within the ministry I oversee. I've attached the document below. The outline of the guide is a 5 step check-list that anyone can use and begin planning for an event.
Step 1 - Prayer
Step 2 - Pre-planning
Step 3 - Planning (and a sample promotion plan)
Step 4 - Implementing
Step 5 - Evaluation
You are free to download the document below. May God bless you as you pray, plan and implement your event.
As 2017 comes to a close, many leaders are thinking of ways to 'finish strong'. One way I personally want to finish strong is by thanking those who serve alongside me in ministry. I certainly have a lot of improvement regarding appreciating the volunteers who serve faithfully each week, but here are three ways I seek to appreciate those who volunteer throughout the year.
Write a Handwritten Note
For many people, receiving a handwritten note is very meaningful. I usually keep the note 3-4 sentences in length, thanking the volunteer for something specific I've seen them do. I then ask my Administrative Assistant to place it in the mail to be delivered to their home address. I typically spend Monday mornings writing my thank you notes for the week. Handwritten notes take a little more time than sending an email or a text, but it is worth taking the extra time and effort.
Saying thank you in person
Each week, I try to find two-three additional volunteers that I can shake their hand, look them in the eye and say 'Thank you'. I don't mention anything specific or elaborate (unless I'm asked). I want them to know that I recognize them and that I'm not too busy to stop and appreciate the work they are doing. Since I am very task driven and not people focused, I have to be intentional about this each week.
Send an email or text message
Finally, toward the end of the week, I will send a few thank you emails to two-three different volunteers in my ministry area. I typically add this to my Google calendar to do every Thursday in the afternoon. Often when I send a message, the recipient will respond saying how much they appreciate the message. Sometimes a volunteer will respond with appreciation and a question they were meaning to ask. This opens up some communication between myself and the volunteer and lets them know I am available.
These are three simple ways that I show appreciation to those who volunteer in my ministry area. What are some ways you show appreciation to your volunteers?
I'm a big fan of Flipboard. Flipboard is a website that allows users to organize articles/stories from the internet into magazines so that all of my interests are found in one place. So I've created a leadership magazine and when I read an interesting leadership article, I flip the article to my magazine. Here are a few articles I've read and 'flipped' over the past few weeks:
You're Only Leading 75 Percent of the Time - This article talks about getting out of the office and interacting with the team you're leading.
6 Mistakes Leaders Make In Their First 90 Days - I enjoy Eric's insight on leadership and here's an article that talks about mistakes new leaders can avoid in their first 90 days.
10 Daily Habits of the Most Productive Leaders - I can always learn from others and in this article, we get a look into some of the habits of productive leaders.
How to Get Organized At Work - I read the book The One Thing this year and now realize the value of focusing on one task at a time rather than multitasking. This article is more about organization than leadership, but still has some useful tips that we can all use.
My Prepared Notes for The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast - Carey recently interviewed Dave Ferguson and his upcoming book Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders. Dave posted his prepared notes for the show and gives readers insight into how to prep for an interview and insight into his method of preparing leaders.
What are some leadership articles or books you've recently read?
The American holiday "Thanksgiving" 2017 is over. The retail stores are currently focused on driving sales and ending the year on a positive note. Churches will now focus teaching efforts on the Christmas season and the birth of Christ. And don't forget year end giving, too. Speaking of the end of the year, leadership growth experts will now begin driving home the discipline of reflection on the year 2017 and brainstorming ways to make 2018 even better.
While the above topics aren't necessarily bad, the idea of giving thanks can swiftly be forgotten. Moses began Psalm 92:1 by saying, "It is good to give thanks to the LORD." For the Christian, giving thanks is not limited to a few days in November. Giving God thanks can happen every day. Here are a few ways from Psalm 92 that we can give God thanks.
Singing - Moses continued in Psalm 92:1, "And to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High." I am not against Christmas music, so please don't misunderstand. But it is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to His Name. Think through the lyrics you are singing. Who are you praising as you sing? Is the song about you or about God?
A favorite song of thanks is titled 'Praise to the Lord the Almighty by Joachim Neander. Here are a few of the lines from the song:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
now to His temple draw near;
praise Him in glad adoration.
Declaration - Moses tells us in Psalm 92:2, "To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night." Again, for Moses, giving thanks to God was not limited to once a year. Every morning and night, Moses was declaring the goodness of the Lord.
One way you can declare the goodness of God in 2017 (and beyond) is through social media. Continue to give thanks beyond November for the works of God. A sermon on social media isn't necessary every morning and night, but declaring the blessings of God to those who scroll through the pages of social media can be a blessing to others as well.
Reflection - Moses writes in Psalm 92:5, "How great are Your works, O LORD!" Personal growth experts will tell you to take time to reflect on the past year, on your successes and mistakes. Successful people take time to reflect every morning. For the Christian, taking time to reflect not on personal successes but on the works of God will most certainly lead to thanksgiving.
Ask yourself these questions:
In what ways has God protected you in 2017?
How have you grown in your spiritual journey this year?
How has God comforted you in 2017?
How has the Spirit convicted you of sin this year?
These are a few questions you can ask as you reflect on God's mighty work in your life in 2017. Even if you don't feel like God has worked in your life in 2017, Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
Circumstances in our life change, people change, but God never changes. So no matter what has come into your life in 2017, because of the faithfulness and lovingkindness of our God, it is good to give Him thanks.
Share below what you are thankful for.
I was raised in local churches that practiced quarterly 'washing of the saints feet' services. At these services, the men would sit in rows facing each other while the women would do the same, each away from each other out of respect. The deacons of the church would supply towels and a pan of water. One individual would "gird" himself with a towel, bend down and begin washing the feet of the person sitting in front of him. Once finished, the person would conclude by drying their feet. The pan was then passed down to the next two members. This service was seeking to model the passage found in John 13:1-20 where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.
I'm not seeking to debate whether John 13:1-20 is speaking of literally washing the feet of another or was simply an illustration given by Jesus. However, one aspect of John 13:1-20 that is difficult to deny is the issue of 'Servant-Leadership' found in this passage. What can we learn from this passage:
1. Jesus knew the end was near. John writes in John 13:1, "Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world..." Jesus knew in the coming days He would die on the cross, come back to life again and then return to the Father. He knew His time with His disciples was coming to a close, so He wanted to give them an example.
Jesus knew He was going to die on the cross, come back to life again, then return back to God. Yet, He gave the disciples a lasting example: Serve One Another. Christ came to earth to serve others for the glory of God. As leaders, you can follow His example by leaving a legacy of serving others for the glory of God.
2. Jesus had all power given to Him, yet He continued to serve others. John tells us in 13:3, "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands..." At this time in history, this act performed by Jesus was usually given to the lowest of servants. Yet the One who was in the beginning and through Him all things were made, served those He was leading.
As leaders, there must not be a task you are not willing to do if you want to lead others. Even in the midst of your busy schedule this week, think of one way you can serve those you are leading. As you serve, remember Peter's instruction in First Peter 4:11, "Whoever serves is to do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ."
Servant-Leadership is understanding that Christ served by 'humbling Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).' Even though leaders face difficult decisions, demanding schedules and burdensome days, they do so knowing Christ is their Strength and that if 'He, the Lord and the Teacher, washed feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet (John 13:14).'
So what are some ways you can serve those you lead?