I have a Type-A, must-see-progress-now, type of personality. The patience fruit of the Spirit is the toughest one for me to actually grow and appreciate. However, I've realized that faithful, persistent, efforts over time will produce that big progress I want.
I'm sure you'd like to see big results from your ministry efforts. You want to see more people coming to Christ, increased attendance at worship services, more volunteers serving consistently, etc. Those are worthwhile goals that would be wonderful to see happen. However, getting to that fruit probably won't happen overnight. So, what can you do now to see that fruit later?
Here are three key areas to invest in to reap benefits over time:
#1: Invest in the volunteers you do have
You may need twice the number of volunteers you currently have, which means your team is carrying a heavy load. I understand that frustration. The key here is to treat your current volunteers so well and make it such a wonderful experience to serve that they can't help but encourage others to do likewise. The best way to recruit new volunteers is for your current ones to recruit for you.
How do you invest in volunteers?
Say "thank you" and be specific about what they're doing that you appreciate so much.
Share testimonies of how a volunteer impacted a guest or served in an extraordinary way.
Mail out hand-written thank you notes when someone goes the extra mile.
Pray with your volunteer teams each Sunday morning.
Have fun and laugh with your volunteers. Don't take yourself too seriously.
You don't have to do anything huge or expensive; they'll feel valued by these little gestures.
#2: Cultivate a winning team
Do you wish your staff members were more productive or would take a more ownership over their areas? There are practical ways you can help them get there.
Let them know what you expect. If they don't know, they're just guessing and that doesn't help anyone win.
Provide mentorship. Does your team struggle with communication? Find a good book and have them read a couple of chapters each week to discuss during staff meetings.
Provide training. Do you have an individual who needs to grow their skills in a specific area? Find a training course. There are many low to no-cost courses online that could really help even if you're on a tight budget.
Don't just wish for an overnight change in your team. Take a few incremental steps to develop the team you truly need.
#3: Pay attention to details
Attend a service at another church that's growing and is headed in the direction you want to lead your team.
Ask yourself several questions as you think about your experience:
What are they doing differently?
What does their campus and rooms for various groups look like?
How do they greet people?
What do they do for first-time guests?
Are volunteers at childcare check-in friendly and helpful?
Does the worship team seem passionate about honoring God in worship?
Pay attention to the details that make up your experience that morning. What did you like, not like? What do you want to take back to your church and adjust? We can always learn from each other, so don’t hesitate to call up one of their staff members and ask how something works behind the scenes. Let's build each other up to serve God and our communities.
Small, incremental steps aren't very exciting at first. It takes consistent effort over time to produce the results we'd rather have instantaneously. Even though it can be frustrating at times, we'll actually learn more and will be able to sustain growth if we build a solid foundation over time to build upon.
As you take these incremental steps, be encouraged by Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."