From time to time I hear youth workers lament that they need to take care of certain things that they don’t care about al all – but things their supervisor values.

They begrudgingly do this punch list of stuff only because they have to. Filling out that report, keeping the database up to date, attendance stuff, pastoral care logs – all of the mundane stuff of ministry that can wear a person down and make them wish for the days when they actually did minister to students.

Let me let you in on a little tip: if you don’t value what your boss values, you’re not going to last long at your church. Sure, you may get lucky and the boss ends up leaving in the next year instead of you, but chances are you’ll be the one looking up open youth ministry position’s in your spouse’s hometown.

So value what your boss values! If he or she asks you for the most mundane reports in the world … spend some serious time on them and make them great. Do what is required, and add in some additional detail they might find interest in, too. Not sure what they value? Take them out to lunch and find out! There’s a chance you’re wasting a lot of time on things that don’t matter to them at all or ignoring important tasks they are dying for you to pick up!

I’ll be back with more boss tips throughout the week – from successes and failures in my own ministry career. Some from as recently as last week! Argh.

Your turn: share one helpful boss tip in the comments now, too!

JG

article.2013.03.27There’s nothing more challenging interpersonally than dealing with a serious conflict with someone on your church staff, or a volunteer in a key position in your ministry. The temptation would be to let time heal it, or hope that the tension would simply go away on its own—but fight those feelings because conflict in the church, especially on a team, has to be dealt with well in order for genuine progress to be made.

Can’t we all just get along? Actually, no, and that’s probably a good thing because it forces us to tackle conflict in a God-honoring manner. Here are some steps to move toward resolution when you find yourself in conflict with someone on staff.

Be the bigger person.

Someone is going to have to lead with humility—might as well be you. How would this relationship change if you decided to take action and humble yourself (right or wrong in the matter that caused the division, either way), and begin a conversation to rebuild trust and love? Until someone does this, any progress will just be an outward act covering up a pain-filled heart. Unresolved conflict eats away at your job satisfaction, your vision, and your heart. Don’t let it happen!

Take a small step forward.

A simple note, gesture, or gift can go a long way. Could you find an excuse to give them a small token of your love for them—even if it’s never acknowledged or reciprocated? Continually take small steps forward—mixed with time this is a powerful way to break down walls.

Talk them up to other people.

People can usually sniff out when someone is in tension with another person—in fact, most churches specialize in spreading that information around gleefully, it seems. When you talk positively about the person in conflict, you are disarming the potential for a greater divide in the church, and not forcing people to take sides. Plus, it is surprising (and won’t take long) for word to get back to that person, too!

Pray for healing.

Too often the “right” answer is to pray for the situation—in this case, it’s no different. You have to ask God to mend what is broken and heal what areas are infected. Conflict between people who work together every day can, and has, claimed many churches—don’t let yours be one of them!

Re-read yesterday’s article.
And by the way, a whole bunch of what we wrote yesterday concerning dealing with a disappointed parents can also apply to resolving conflict on your ministry team. Here’s an example:

Kurt: “Josh, I can understand why you FEEL threatened by my physical stature.”
Kurt: “In fact, Josh, other people on our team have FELT the same way.”
Kurt: “Here’s what I’ve FOUND: As long as you don’t tick me off…you have nothing to be afraid of.”

See…It’s simple!

Who do you need to take a small step forward with today?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.



article.2013.03.12One of the questions we are often asked is: How do you get it all done? To be honest, no one gets it all done. But, we have come up with a few techniques over the years to help us squeeze more into each day. This week we want to take a little time to help you boost your productivity.

Turn off notifications
Notifications are the derailment of getting stuff done. And while you may pride yourself on giving quick answers and having instant follow-up, what you are actually doing is interrupting continued focused thought in one particular area. Try prepping your next sermon using iA Writer (iawriter.com) and see if the focus helps you prepare faster and more effectively.

Do email in bursts.
Similar to the “turn off notifications” idea: Only check your email a few times a day. This one is harder than ever with that little “new email” icon or unread number calling out your name to check it incessantly all day. Stop the email madness! Do email in the morning, noon, at the end of the workday and just before bed and you can knock out a bunch in one block rather than let it persist all day.

Never eat alone.
Everyone has to eat lunch! So make your productivity matter even over your lunch hour. Spend time with a mentor, a student, a volunteer, your spouse, one of your kids—make every meal count.

Manage your meeting times.
It doesn’t take long for a meeting to turn into a marathon, so master the subtle ways to help move them along. Ask good questions, make sure there is a clear objective beforehand, and don’t be afraid to help bring it to a conclusion so you can be on time for the FCA meeting or volleyball game coming up next.

Get out of the office.

Have a secret location that no one knows about where you go to “get stuff done.” Starbucks by the church is a little too obvious for me—I (Josh) love a little Boba place around here that is quiet, has free wi-fi, and no one has any idea where I’m at for a few hours to crank stuff out. I can be ultra productive there and get totally in the zone.

Open your door/close your door.
I love the “open door policy” of our church, but there are certain times it just isn’t a realistic option. Don’t be afraid to close your door 20% of the time to help you get things done without interruption.

What is your best tip for productivity?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

talk_to_your_boss

Simple little trick I learned from a great boss years ago: have a file on your desktop called “Talk to Boss” that gives you quick access to what you need to talk to your senior pastor/supervisor about that week. Time with your leader is rare (the larger the church, the less the time for sure) and you need to make the most of it. If they send you an agenda item, drop it in there, too!

JG



Now is the time to stop wasting time on mindless time fillers. They leave us drained and eventually with lots of work piled up that will just become too overwhelming to even want to deal with.

Spotting mindless time fillers
They are easy to spot: Facebook, video games, cell phones, television. When we do them, we get absolutely nothing accomplished. I’m not saying there is nothing to be accomplished on them but that they can be time killers when not used responsibly. We find ourselves wasting our time on them when we are bored but don’t want to do what actually needs to be done. So they keep us busy filling our time, yes; but are not productive at all.

Stopping mindless time fillers from filling your time:

  • We can stop them from filling our time without quitting them altogether by setting a daily time limit and sticking to it. 30 minutes a day should be long enough as it is not too long, leaving you feeling drained and not too short, leaving you wanting more.
  • Sometimes we waste time because we do not know where to begin. Having a list of things that need to be done will give us a heads up.
  • Stay focused in the task at hand. Turn off notification ring tones, close the Facebook tab and get to work. You will be much more productive and be done with the task before you know it!

Apply these simple steps and be on your way to a more productive you in 2013!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.


Curious in this week’s poll – where do you do your best sermon preparation? Vote in today’s poll!

JG



The competition was fierce and hilarious with the almost unbelievable items that our contestants keep in their offices but the impartial MTDB Judge Emily vetted the responses chuckling loudly accross the hallway from my office and prayerfully decided that winning items for strangest items in your offices were.

Ryan – A taxadermied frog (possibly illegal)

Erik – Salvation Hot Sauce Collection

Brian – Pee Wee Herman and Chairee (where did you get this?)

Harry – A military practice bomb that he hands out as an award called “You’re Da Bomb”

You will receive your redeem codes via email sometime tonight.

To all the others, thanks! Thanks for being great youth workers who have offices that are fun, disarming and engaging for students to visit and for serving the way you do!

GS