Newsletter Update  
October 2016  

Dear Friends,

When things go wrong in ministry it's important to get to the root of the problem. A recent post, What's at the Root?, provides some examples for a variety of situations. Here I want us to ask ourselves some questions related to what I've found often can be the root of problems in ministry.
1) Was I adequately prepared?
Sometimes just a little more time, effort, or foresight in the planning stages could avert a lot of problems. As you'll see in this month's Be-Attitude, we tend to have greater impact when we are prepared.
2) Did my non-verbal communication match what I said verbally?
When we say what we mean and mean what we say, our non-verbal communication usually follows. A lack of such authenticity often results in misunderstandings. If we want an impacting testimony, we must think though the ways we communicate what we believe that go beyond words.
3) Did people know what was expected of them?
If we fail to let people know what's expected of them, can we really blame them when things go wrong? We can especially see the value of making sure children know what the expectations are in the classroom, as we read in this month's discipline tip, thus preventing many problems. So it is with other areas of ministry whether we serve children, youth, or adults.
4) Did my methodology match the abilities and needs of the people I serve?
The better we understand the people we serve, the more we can adapt what we do to best meet their needs and gain their cooperation. An obvious example is engaging students in the classroom by using Bible teaching methods in keeping with their age development. Begin with Methods for Preschoolers and work your way forward through the next several blog posts for which methods best fit the various age levels.
5) Did I get others involved in the process or did I push through my own agenda?
We might get people involved in the classroom using methods such as workgroups, but what about the ongoing decisions that need to be made in church life and ministry? Are we willing to relinquish control and let others not only provide input but also help determine the course of action? If people lack a sense of ownership in the process, or feel devalued, you are looking at potential problems.
6) Did I fully rely on God's Spirit to be at work in and through me?
I've listed this one last because it's the one I believe we most need to remember. When we rely on our own understanding and efforts, we can only blame ourselves when things go wrong. However, if we are truly relying on God's Spirit to be at work in and through us, then we can be confident that God is using the adverse circumstances for some sort of greater good we don't yet understand. You'll find three new articles in the practicum that look at how the Holy Spirit must be an integral part of our church growth efforts. We need God's wisdom and power in whatever ministry we do.

Learning & Growing Together,

Phyllis Kline
Ministry Tools Resource Center

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