Church and organizational life has big moments. These span campaigns, big events and such. Church calendars can include Easter, Christmas and other specific community drives. Those are usually times of disproportionate focus and attention. Some things in ‘normal’ church life make way for the campaign. And, teams across organizations have a single focus. Many of us can identify with the buzz–palpable excitement and expectancy.
Then the event comes, or the campaign crosses the finish line. If done well, there’s a clear next. If it’s a building campaign, structures start going up and renovations begin. Events in the Christian calendar such as Easter, new small groups start for those who’ve come to faith.
Often the milestone events are links in chain. They’re pieces in bigger puzzles. Before we get to these ‘nexts’ though, it is always good to pause.
People / Self Care
Before we talk about the next in the life of your church or organization, remember the individuals in it. Self-care is one of those things ministry or church people are not always good at. We do good at talking about it, and often that’s where it ends.
Rest is important and must should be in the calendar. Time to recoup means we can serve better. For staff and volunteers in the church, it is easy for church life to become one event after another.
Pastors / leaders need to make sure rest is part of the HR and volunteer policies. More than that, there should also make sure that those they serve as leaders are taking time to recoup. Burn out is part individuals’ responsibility and part oversight’s responsibility too.
If there’s an organization that should excel as a great example in taking care of its people, it’s the Church.
Each event and campaign must have a clear purpose. They exist to move the mission forward. It is good for teams and leaders to take time to reflect and locate their recent milestone on their journey.
It’s always good to connect the dots. “This is what we’ve done, why it’s important“. It’s easy to forget that we’re involved in significant work. Reflection can help give purpose to action taken. We should be able to connect each initiative with the bigger picture.
Altars and Stuff
The Old Testament provides great examples of reflection and acknowledging God’s hand. Altars were setup, stories recorded–preserved for posterity. This gave perspective. Sometimes projects or initiatives have profound impact on people’s lives. And it would be, at the very least, amiss if we thought it was us who did it.
God invites us to be a part of His mission and through His Spirit helps us to do. When people come to faith, or other amazing things happen, it’s good to remind ourselves that it’s not us. It’s good to pause and acknowledge God.
Something also good to do is ask:
- What did we learn?
- What worked?
- What could we have done better and why?
- In future, how would we do this differently?
Our memories aren’t the best. I can’t overstate the importance of documenting. It’s so important we did a series about it:
- Document It: Why We Must Document
- Document It: Debunking Myths About Documenting
- Document It: Best Practices
- Document It: How To Document
When we don’t document, in the future, we can’t repeat the success of what worked, and we might repeat some mistakes. So how did you start the campaign? What did it all cost? Are there people who’ve signed up for future similar endeavors? Where are the receipts and materials used kept? How can they be accessed in the future? The list goes on.
If you’ve archived footage, design assets etc, make sure someone knows where it’s all backed up or stored. It will be helpful if the campaign will be repeated.
Celebrate the wins. You may not achieve everything you wanted but there is something to celebrate so do it. It doesn’t need to be a big party but have some sort of party. It is an opportunity to collectively share in the joy of getting something done. It’s important for team formation–it strengthens teams. We’re taught that there’s a time for everything. And, we’re also encouraged to not only mourn with those who mourn but also to rejoice.
Outro / TL;DR
This is in no specific order. At the end of a project or initiative or campaign, make sure you people, and yourself, take time to recoup. Assess your progress against the strategy or mission. Always remember / acknowledge God–it is He who does the work through us. Take note of what you’ve learned. Document it. Celebrate.