Partnering in ministry is essential. But sometimes our ministry team can look like the The Bad News Bears because of disorganization and untapped talents and gifts. That’s why this week’s tip is to coach your team well. We’ve even provided a few practical ways to coach well below. With a basic playbook, you can become a better coach and help others become better coaches (and players), too.
1. Set high expectations. We shy away from putting “too much” on our volunteers, but people want to be part of something significant. They want to know what they’re doing matters.
2. Know your players. Coaching is more than standing on the sidelines and yelling instructions to the players. A good coach knows the players’ strengths, weaknesses, and struggles in order to help everyone work well together.
3. Avoid comparisons. Comparisons lead to feelings of inadequacy and superiority. Build up the team as a whole but also encourage and challenge individuals, appreciating them for their uniqueness and equipping them to grow into their capabilities.
4. Be authentic. Let people know you, including mistakes and struggles. People aren’t looking for perfect leaders, because they can’t personally relate or measure up to perfection.
5. Ask for input. Gather ideas and feedback from the people you coach. Give them the opportunity to invest in the team.
6. Plan ahead. There’s a lot of planning and preparing that goes into a game, but the game is a fraction of the time spent together as a team. Grow through the ups and downs of the planning process instead of focusing on the outcome.
7. Take the lead. Be the leader you want each of your team members to be. Model healthy confrontation, initiative, and humility.
8. Appreciate effort. Look past the “success” or “failure” and acknowledge people’s efforts. People often put in the same amount of time in both situations, regardless of the outcome.
9. Choose words well. Replace “I don’t think…” and “You shouldn’t…” with “What if we tried to…,” “Maybe you could…,” or “Another option might be…” Negatives put people on the defensive. Your goal is to work alongside people.
10. Celebrate. Remember trips to the ice cream shop or pizza place after the game, whether you won or lost? Celebrations can be simple and occasional. If you celebrate too often, it’s not as special. Surprise your team!
What are some of your favorite ways to be a great coach for your leadership team? Share in the comments below!
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The time and energy ministry takes can infect your family and friends or it can result in burnout and resentment. That’s why this week we’re encouraging you to watch for warning signs that ministry danger is ahead. Specifically, watch out for these three common warning signs:
Living in a Bubble
Living in a bubble might seem like a good, safe way to do ministry, locking some things in and other things out, but what about the things God wants to flow in and out of your life? Putting yourself in a bubble is a control issue. Giving your life to ministry is about giving up control. God gives you choices, but choices and control are two different things. Control might give you a false sense of security, which may feel better than vulnerability. Only God can give true security. Vulnerability isn’t a bad thing in your relationship with Him. It makes you more sensitive so you can anticipate what He can and will do as He uses you for His work.
You notice lessons and purpose in just about everything, and you want to share the challenge and application with others. Why wouldn’t everyone around you want to hear your insights? Just because God encourages and challenges you in everyday situations doesn’t mean the lessons He has for you are the best fit and timing for everyone around you. Thinking you have to teach, share, and apply everything is another attempt at control. Let God decide the critical timing of lessons and choices in others’ lives. When you choose to listen well, you will know when to stand up, sit down, speak up, and shut up.
Letting Pride Get in the Way
Jesus taught on the importance of counting the costs of giving our lives to Him. When we count the costs of ministry, we often think of time, effort, organization, resources, and teaching. What about the things that aren’t quite as easy to count — our pride, preferences, comfort, control, understanding, agenda, and goals? What are you hanging onto? When you identify it, you will find your stumbling block and help keep yourself from experiencing ministry burnout.
Remember, Jesus doesn’t ask you to give your life to ministry. He asks you to give your life to Him. Ministry simply comes out of the life you live for Him.
How do you protect yourself from burnout in ministry? Leave a comment below!
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As you know, intentional time spent with one woman can create a quiet yet far-reaching ripple effect. Therefore, this week’s tip is to take time to connect and invest in someone’s life today. Here are a few ideas to help you apply this tip in your life:
1. Cook together. Grocery shop together. Share tips while in the kitchen. Enjoy the meal together or make enough to take home to both families. Even clean-up will be more fun together!
2. Make a standing date. Set a biweekly or monthly date. Swap planning responsibilities for variety or grab coffee and a snack at the same restaurant every time. You’ll soon anticipate your regular time together.
3. Give mom a break. Offer to hang out with a young mom on a regular basis so she can get things done around the house while you occupy the children. Your willingness to spend time investing in her children will pour encouragement into her.
4. Serve together. Find a way you can help someone you both know or serve a community agency.
5. Work out together. Try a new exercise class together or hold each other accountable by expecting to see each other at a weekly class. Meet at the local gym for regular workouts or enjoy early morning strolls together.
6. Swap support. Find out what projects others are working on and lend your support. Ask for help so others are comfortable asking you, too. As you support each other, you share the weight of responsibilities while also getting to know each other.
7. Gather a group together. Get together with additional people so you avoid isolating yourselves. Attend an event or study with other women or host friends for coffee and dessert.
8. Organize photos together. As you categorize photos into years, family members, or projects, you’ll get closer to each other as you share memories.
9. Learn from each other. If you want to know how to create an event or share someone’s photos on Facebook, just ask. If you want to gather ideas for closet organization or landscaping, just ask. If neither of you knows the answer, search for it together.
10. Remind each other. Serve as sticky notes for each other, extending accountability by following up when someone shares plans for an apology, organization, service, and so on. As you touch base with each other on a regular basis, you’ll stick together through struggles and triumphs.
Do you have additional ways you like to intentionally connect with other women? Share them in the comments below!
Welcome to the womensministry.net blog and the new home of the Tip of the Week by womensministry.net. If you’re receiving this via email it’s because you are a subscriber to our Tip of the Week email. You’ll still receive a tip each Wednesday in your inbox along with a link to a coordinating womensministry.net member-only resource.
As you can see, we have a fresh new look for Tip of the Week and for womensministry.net. It’s a work in progress so you’ll find more updates on our website, blog and Directory of Gifted Communicators in the coming weeks. We’d love to hear your feedback! Email denise(at)womensministry.net and let me know what you think. In the meantime, enjoy our first tip for 2015 below!
Denise Alvarez, womensministry.net Executive Director
Simplify One Step at a Time
It’s officially the new year, that time when we often resolve to do things different, then feel like we fail when our determination falters. The same thing happens in ministry. We dream big, then get frustrated when reality disappoints us. Don’t despair! This week’s tip is to simplify using these simple steps. By simplifying you are much more likely to meet your ministry goals for the new year.
Step One: Declutter
Big dreams are fun, and it’s important to imagine what God might be doing in our ministries. However, when we begin to put them into action, all the details are too much to handle. Ask yourself: What is the “one thing” that is non-negotiable about this ministry? Determine one thing that will grow that area or meet that need. God might spur you to develop a new program or to change something that is existing.
Step Two: Pray
Give it to God. When you start to take control, give it to Him again. Control and responsibility are two things that often get twisted together. God has given you the responsibility to lead, but part of that responsibility involves following Him. He’s the one with the best perspective and all the power. You might not understand or be completely comfortable with what He’s guiding you into, but you’ll grow through humble obedience.
Step Three: Invite
Ask others to get involved. Start with one person. She might say “no,” but don’t get discouraged. God intends for us to live life, including ministry, alongside others. Avoid making it about “them” walking alongside you. Become a “we.” What others have to offer you and the ministry is just as important as what you haveto offer. If you’re already surrounded by a great team, reach beyond it. Even when teams are great for a season, we need to consistently grow.
These three basic steps might seem like no-brainers. You might say, “Been there, done that. Give me a better idea.” But back-to-the-basics might be just what you need to get started in 2015!
How do you prepare your ministry for the new year? Leave a comment below!
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If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen an abundance of photos with text overlaid on top. You’ll oftentimes see Scripture and quotes written on top of a photo. Within the past couple of years, this process for sharing text has become more and more prominent… because we’re visual people! See a view examples below.
But, why is this important for those of us serving in ministry? Using photos can give us a larger audience when it comes to encouraging our women and promoting events. Whether you’re sharing a blog or making an announcement, using a photo will multiply your audience.
For example, did you know if you share a photo on Facebook it will be seen by more people than if you simply share a quote or a link? And, your click rate will be higher if you add a photo to your blog post.
Next time you’re promoting your event, consider adding the event information on top of a photo. If you need an easy program to do so, we recommend PicMonkey. This free online resource allows makes simple photo editing and makes adding text to photos incredibly easy.
Here’s the challenging part: finding the right photo on which to add text.
Some photos are too busy to allow the text to be readable. I’ve found that it’s important for me to keep a growing file of photos that I can pull from when I’m looking for a background. It’s important to find royalty free photos.
Receive weekly photos to your inbox with StockVault.net. This free resource sends photos each week to your email, and if you think they might be helpful for design down the road, simply add them to your file.
The larger your file, the easier it will be to design a photo for your next event, blog post, or encouragement. I’ve found that looking through my file will oftentimes give me the inspiration I need to design an image.
Subscribe to StockVault.net emails, and you might just find yourself inspired too!
Question: Where do you find your photos for design?
I’m a to-do list maker. I write out what I have to do for work, I jot down my shopping list, and I make lists of goals and never-really-going-to-happen projects. After I finish, I need a list of my lists!
For most of us, our lives have multiple projects going on simultaneously. Along with work, our ministries, families, and friends require a lot from us. Keeping everything straight and getting everything done can be challenging.
I recently started using the program Nozbe to capture all of my to-do’s. The best part of digital system is the ability to manage many different projects all within in one larger list. It’s easy, too.
Here’s how it works:
Some of my lists include projects for my work, a list of household to-do’s (bills to pay, returns to make, etc), and a list I call “Someday-Maybe” – a list of things I want to remember next time I have some extra time.
Within each project, you can add tasks. Nozbe makes it easy to quickly add the specific steps for each project. For example, in my life project, I have a list of calls I need to make and specific appointments to make.
Track Due Dates
On each task, you can note when the project is due. Also, you can specify if the project is reoccurring. This option is helpful for work, as I do certain tasks each week, and Nozbe adds these tasks each week to my list. Also Nozbe can remind you of tasks that only surface every few months (e.g. oil changed, quarterly newsletter, etc).
Check ‘em Off
I bet we’re all guilty of adding something to our to-do list just to cross it off, right? When you complete a task with Nozbe, you get the joy of checking it off and seeing the task archived.
There are countless other ways to utilize Nozbe by adding tags, context, and utilizing the mobile app. But, the important thing is having one consistent place to capture all of your tasks.
Try the free version of Nozbe here. You can set up your new to-do lists in minutes!
Question: How do you manage your to-do lists?
I don’t have a graphic design background, but I do know images are important for grabbing viewers’ attention. Having an image is helpful and in many cases essential to promoting events and sharing information. Spending just a few minutes on Facebook or Pinterest will confirm that we consume a large portion of information through images.
However, many of us don’t have a graphic designer on staff for our ministries and we may not be familiar with programs like Photoshop. Photoshop is a great program to create images, but it can be challenging to navigate.
Let me introduce you to PicMonkey. This free online resource allows you to do simple photo editing and makes adding text to photos incredibly easy. There is no download. You simply use their website to edit your pictures.
For example, if you’re promoting your upcoming women’s retreat, you could share a photo from last year and overlay the date, time, and other registration information on top of the photo. Or, when you share a blog post, you could put the title of the blog post over a photo to draw attention. The photo on the left was created just for that purpose; it used in a blog post.
PicMonkey is easy to learn and the free version offers many options to customize photos, create collages, and add text.
Question: How do you create visuals to promote your events?
I rarely carry cash in my wallet. Instead, I daily use my debit card. How about you?
Over the past few years, there has been a transition toward using credit and debit cards instead of cash. So, one question we should consider in our ministries is, how should we accept payment for events? Our goal is always to make it convenient for others to register and participate.
Accepting debit and credit card payments for events, registration, and fundraisers used to require a credit card machine, and if you’ve used one, you know credit card machines can be fickle. Anyone ever battled a paper receipt roll? They’re not friendly!
Our ministry has transitioned to taking payment with a Square Register. We use the Square at the registration table at our events and at our book and product tables.
The Square Register functions like a regular card reader and accepts payments through an Apple iOs or Android device. The payments are processed and deposited into your account within 1-2 days.
The Square Register is small, easy to transport and plugs into the headphone jack on a smart phone or tablet.
To receive payment, simply enter the payment amount, swipe the credit/debit card, and get the customer’s signature (done so with customer’s finger). An optional receipt can be sent via text or email.
There is a flat rate of 2.75% for all received payments, and there are no monthly fees.
As you plan the registration process and product sales for your upcoming event, consider how you can make the process smooth and most convenient for the women in your ministry. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate how you accept payment. You can read more about setting up the Square Register here.
Question: How do you accept payment at your events?
It’s time to put the finishing touches on your year-end newsletter. You’ve spent weeks compiling stories, updates, and event reports to send to your women’s ministry. Since the newsletter is a highlight for the women, you email your working draft to several women to hear their feedback and see what edits they’d recommend. You want to ensure you included the highlights as well as have a few extra eyes watch for typos.
Seems like a good plan, right?
Each woman reads the newsletter, has lots of feedback, ideas, and edits, and they make the changes, attach the document to the email and send it back to you. All of the sudden, you have 5 different drafts of the same document, and comparing them is like an awful type of word puzzle. Talk about brain overload!
Can you relate? I’m sure you can.
In our ministry, our goal is to always have several people look over outgoing content. Sometimes we cannot see our own errors after working with our content for so long. A fresh perspective is always helpful. However, having so many hands in a project can complicate.
When collaborating on a project, Googledocs can help alleviate some of the confusion. Instead of emailing different drafts between the group, everyone can work on a single document and see the changes others are making.
We’ve found Googledocs simplifies – especially when our whole team doesn’t work in the same office. Have you ever used Googledocs? If not, here’s a quick introduction. All you need is a free google account to get started.
We can always learn from the edits others make on our writing, and Googledocs collaboration feature allows editing to be done in an efficient way. Here’s a Youtube video introducing how to collaborate using Googledocs:
Question: How do you handle editing and proofreading in your ministry?
Here on the Women’s Ministry blog I usually share with you resources and tools to help you as you serve in ministry. However, sometimes the best thing we can do is to close the apps, silence our phones, and put our gadgets away.
The very tools and applications that promise simplicity can sometimes create more clutter than peace.
This afternoon I’m taking time to evaluate the clutter in my life – and specifically the clutter on my phone. Here are a few questions I’m asking myself. Will you join me?
What notifications do you truly need?
Imagine working at your desk, and just as you begin your day, a coworker taps you on the shoulder. She shows you a picture of her family, which you’re happy to see. She leaves, and a few minutes later she comes back in your office and tells you about what she saw on the news. She leaves and you get back to work until she interrupts again to tell you about her evening plans. You enjoy your friend and like her updates, but with her constant interruption, you aren’t able to get anything done!
Alerts on our phones are like that persistent co-worker who just wants to chat. While you might enjoy the notifications and the information, is the information worth the constant interruption? Consider the alerts that interrupt you throughout your day. Can you turn off news and weather alerts? Do you really need email notifications? Can you silence GroupMe and prevent social media notifications from popping up throughout the day? What other interruptions can you minimize?
What applications do you truly need?
My favorite candy is chocolate covered orange peels. Have you ever had them? Oh goodness. They are so good that I cannot buy them, or I eat them all! It’s just too tempting. Having social media applications on my phone is like setting my favorite chocolate in front of me and saying don’t eat!
We don’t want to be distracted by social media, but when we have constant access to it – be it on our phones or computers – we can find ourselves distracted. With social media glued to our hands in the form of our phones, it’s as if social media is always asking for more attention.
After reading an article about the “Distraction Free Iphone,” I deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone. If needed, I can open the webpages in my browser, but the extra effort makes me aware of how I don’t really need to be on Facebook. I had no idea how much time I wasted scrolling through the same old posts – instead of actually texting and calling friends and family directly.
Removing the applications from my phone is like hiding the chocolate! When I don’t see it, it’s so much easier to say no! Take a few minutes and consider what notifications and applications you need on your phone.
We can stretch our time, boost our energy, and increase our focus by minimizing distractions. This newfound time, energy, and focus can then be poured back into our ministry. If you don’t want to eat the chocolate – hide it!
Question: Do you get distracted by your phone? How do you minimize distractions?
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