What’s in this Episode?
Everything at church is important, right? Everything merits improvement, right? But if I had to narrow it down to the top three areas where I could improve ministry, what would those three areas be? Well, in today’s Church Tips Podcast, we’re going to talk about exactly that.
Read the Transcript
Jonathan Hardy 0:22
Few years back, I was working at the church. And we’re looking at some of the systems that we had in place as it related to getting people to go from wanting to volunteer into actually volunteering. And this is an issue I’ve seen, actually in a number of churches. And you as a listener may have this happening in your church right now. Here’s what happened. The kids team was trying to recruit a specific individual to join the kids, the kids team, one of the worship leaders was also trying to recruit that same person to join the worship team. And then we had them a small group team trying to recruit that same person to start a small group. So all of a sudden, we had three different ministry departments, all recruiting the same person.
Dick Hardy 1:06
Pretty popular person!
Jonathan Hardy 1:08
Yeah, this person must have been a gem! But the person said, you guys figure out where you want me. I’ll do it, I’m happy to help. Just tell me where. And what I don’t think the team realized was, we have to look at the diminished, we have to look at the recruitment of the ministry teams, from the lens of the person being recruited. They look at the church as a whole as a unit, right? They don’t look at it as all of these different departments. And so we had to basically revamp the process to make sure that the right hand knew what the left hand was doing. And it was a good learning experience. It was a great improvement. And that’s why I mentioned that is because we want to talk today about the top three ministry areas to improve. And so we have to constantly work to improve the areas of ministry. And so we’re going to be diving right into that today. Good. So, Dick, why don’t you jump in? What’s the first one?
Area #1: Improve Your Preaching
Jonathan Hardy 2:01
Okay, well, the first one I think, a pastor and a church need to give strong consideration to is improving the preaching. Now, immediately when I say that all insecurities of every pastor and preacher, they go “oh man I’m not you know, I’m not as good as the guy down the street.” That’s not where I’m at. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about wherever you’re at, you could be a rookie just learning to preach. You could be a 40 year veteran and you preach a zillion sermons. The whole point is, you’ve got to work to continue to improve your preaching, because that is the piece that will hold people, once they come. There’s lots of attractive things kids ministry, and so on, that people are drawn to, but what’s going to hold them is what happens in the auditorium and the preaching. You know, it doesn’t have to be, you know, the biggest and best, you know, the best preacher in the nation, but it does need to be… The people need to have a sense that pastor is delivering and is well prepared, and is getting better and better and better at their preaching.
Jonathan Hardy 3:14
Yeah, you have a lot of people that… or a lot of stats out there talk about how a visitor will return, you know, they make their decision, the first seven minutes or whatever. Well, there could be some truth to that. I don’t deny that. But I believe that what’s going to get people to stick is what you’re talking about. It’s the preaching, you know, you can have good hospitality experience and all that, but if the preaching…
Dick Hardy 3:38
And we advocate for those things!
Jonathan Hardy 3:39
Yeah, but if the preaching is subpar, they’re not gonna stick for the long haul. It reminds me of two different lead pastors who are friends of mine, what they do to improve their preaching. I have one pastor, I actually mentioned this a few episodes ago, he will practice his sermon on the Saturday night, every Saturday night before Sunday morning, though, he literally goes up into the church building, gets on stage, turns the lights up by himself, and he does the entire sermon. He practices it. On stage live. I mean, in what would be the live setting beforehand. The other pastor friend of mine. Every sermon he does, afterward he watches it. Oh, yeah. And so he’s self critiquing. He’s looking at it. Okay, oh, I could have done that illustration better. Ooh, man. Okay, I see how I missed this or, you know, these things. To improve his communication skills. Because while we know the Bible speaks for itself, God uses humans to communicate the word and so we need to make sure we do as best we can in communicating. I know I’m stealing your thunder.
Jonathan Hardy 3:41
No that’s fine! And honestly, when I’m talking to pastors, and I’m, you know, their saying, okay, how can I do this? One of the things I recommend they do, I mean, those are great suggestions, but I recommend that they begin to follow two preaching pastors that they connect with.
Jonathan Hardy 5:04
Yeah! And listen to them.
Dick Hardy 5:06
Listen to them, watch them. And it doesn’t mean you’ve got to be them. But if you’re tracking with them, maybe they’re an expository preacher, you’re trying to be a better expository preacher, watch them. And you’ll be amazed at what happens, you’ll get better. Everybody learns from everybody else. So work on that and I will mention to here, we had just released here a couple of weeks ago, the preaching track inside of Church University. So go to churchuniversity.com and you can click on the preaching track, and certainly avail yourself of that resource, because it’s a phenomenal resource that will really help you get better.
Jonathan Hardy 5:44
I mean, it’s comprehensive. It’s the whole deal. And just if you haven’t heard much about it, it’s a full course basically on preaching, start to finish, how to improve. And you know, and it’s great, not only for the pastors, but it works for children’s pastors, youth pastors.
Jonathan Hardy 5:58
So your whole team can use it I will mention to in Episode 48, you might go take a look at that preaching was the very first thing. There were three things we talked about there. In terms of traits of growing churches, you want your church to grow. You might take a look at Episode 48 as well.
Jonathan Hardy 6:13
All right, so what’s the second thing?
Area #2: Improve Your Youth and Children’s Ministry
Jonathan Hardy 6:13
Well another thing that really needs to be continually worked on to improve is your youth and children’s ministry. Now, youth and children’s ministry can be seen, you know, where we talked about preaching being that thing that causes people to stick, youth and children’s ministry are frequently the upfront thing. Hey, they got a hot youth group over there. Hey, man, the kids ministry over at this church. So, from that standpoint, now you’re on the front end of a guest coming. You want to be continually evaluating your systems and processes for your youth and children’s ministry. I found it interesting, in your earlier story. You talked about how the kids ministry was recruiting this person, okay, kids ministry recruiting all the time. Yeah. So when you think of kids and youth in terms of bringing on leaders, teachers, workers, with the kids and youth, you want to be continually refining those processes, because the better the team you build, the better the ministry is going to go forward. And then the content of what you do. You know, I’ve seen particularly… well, I’ve seen it two ways. I’ve seen it in youth where people view youth as entertainment time. And I get it, the teenagers, they’re having fun and so on. But then I’ve also heard it sadly, on kids ministry, that kids ministry, while they won’t call it babysitting, they don’t really teach much of the Bible. Listen, you can’t afford to have that be the case. You have to be continually improving, evaluating what you’re doing in terms of your curriculum. What do you want that fifth grader or that five year old to know by the time they’re eight, by the time they’re 11? Then they go into youth. What do you want them to know by the time they graduate from high school? Anyway, I can kind of get worked up on that. But ministry to youth and children is key to improving all the time.
Jonathan Hardy 7:58
Because you have grandkids.
Dick Hardy 7:58
Probably! And I love those grandkids, and I want to see them know Jesus and grow in their faith.
Area #3: Improve Your Systems
Jonathan Hardy 8:03
So that’s right. Well, the third area to improve is systems. Now, when I talk about systems, maybe a simplified way to define a system is, it’s just a process. Yeah, it’s how do we do something? And so whether it’s what you’re talking about with kids in youth ministry, you know, here would be a systems tied to that would be what is our process to take someone from when they’re leaving elementary and entering into the junior high stage? How can we make that as smooth as possible and not have kids fall through the cracks. Right. And then the same would be true once they leave high school, how do we get them enter into the college age, the young adult ministry? So but there’s all kinds of systems. I mean, it could be small groups, it could be your process for recruitment, like I talked about in the story of how can we improve our volunteer process? That’s one of the things we did from the story I was talking about, where we said, okay, we need to have a streamlined approach where everyone knows who’s kind of on the recruitment list, so to speak. So we’re not all talking to the same person. And just, you know, we see the new person who’s now a part of the church, and they’re like, everybody, is they’re solid, and they’ve got ministry history, or whatever. So we’re like, oh, yeah, we got to get them. And, you know, so let’s make this a streamlined approach. So could be that, could be discipleship. You go down the list. We have processes, or we should have processes for everything we do. Yeah, exactly. And so if you don’t have that figured out, that’s the first step is probably identifying, well, what is the process for our church to disciple people? What is the process to take them from five year old to fifth grade and grow them? And once you get all that laid out, then you start working to figure out okay, how can we improve that? We have to constantly work to improve these systems. So with that being the case, Dick, give us the quick recap.
Jonathan Hardy 8:09
Very simple. The recap is we we encourage you to improve the preaching, improve the ministry to youth and children and improve systems. If you’ll do these three things and be diligent about paying attention to these, you’re going to see good things happen to the church and improvements are going to happen. I want to mention to you that just a few months ago, Jonathan created an outstanding masterclass, called the Four Secrets Masterclass that a number of pastors have taken advantage of. And while you’re in the mode of thinking, okay, I want to improve the ministry, you know, you need to improve as well. And this is a course just shy of an hour in length that really walks you through some outstanding leadership concepts in the church that are going to help you be a better leader and help the church. Just go to leaders.church/secrets, that’s leaders.church/secrets, and you can jump into the masterclass right away. I think they have some options on times and dates that they can jump into.
Jonathan Hardy 10:00
Yeah, well right now you actually can just get access to the latest replay.
Jonathan Hardy 10:46
Oh, you get into it right away. Okay, so yeah, that’s good. You know, also, we’d certainly encourage you to subscribe to the podcast platform that you like to listen to, and certainly to our YouTube channel. When you’re on the podcast, we certainly would encourage you to rate and review us in fact, we’ve got a review here from Adam and Olivia. Brilliant, another gem from leaders.church, this is some solid and practical info. Thank you, Adam and Olivia for that kind comment, and you rate and review us who knows, we may read yours on a future upcoming podcasts. Anything else, Jonathan?
Jonathan Hardy 11:27
Dick Hardy 11:28
Okay. Thanks very much for hanging with us. Make it a great one, and be blessed.
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