Though autumn brings with it the hope of cooler temperatures and changing leaves, this year there is more mystery than usual. How will churches prepare for welcoming children and families in the unforeseeable fall? What will be the state of our communities? What can we actually expect? Though we can’t answer all of those questions, here are five quick tips for getting your team as ready as you can as you step into the unknown:
- Revisit values. One important thing you can do to make sure you are making wise choices is to take the time to really refine your key ministry goals. What are your ministry’s core values? What are your top priorities? Have they changed recently? This is a great opportunity to sort that out. Once you’ve gotten them written down, you can use them as a filter as you make decisions.
- Retain wise counsel. You don’t have to do this alone. Make it a priority to find a peer group with whom to bounce ideas around. Seek out a ministry with similar size and scope and values (see #1!) and share what you’ve tried and listen to the strategies of others. Not only can this bring new ideas, but it can also minister to your weary hearts as you share the load together.
- Reassess expectations. One thing we all are learning during the pandemic is that being flexible is a necessity. You’ve probably been pushed to do things differently than you ever thought possible. As we head into fall, it’s a good practice to take a look at the expectations for your ministry. What is realistic? What needs to be adjusted? Is there a possibility you can put a hold on the really labor-intensive events and activities and scale back a little for the sake of the well-being of your team? Cut what you can—it’s okay!
- Reevaluate connections. Now more than ever, connecting with your team and your congregation is vital! As you work on #3, consider how you can reasonably achieve this. Some of you may need to hear this: you do not need to do this all yourself. Are there leaders that you can meet with (even virtually) on a regular basis who can in turn reach out to another group—and so on? Find creative ways to pass on the ever-changing updates so people feel in the loop, but you don’t feel completely burnt out.
- Rest. There’s no question that no matter what happens, this is going to be a lot of work. You may find yourself exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. Remember that God promises we can find our rest in Christ. Don’t hesitate to take time for yourself and lean on God for that wonderful peace that only God can provide.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28 NLT