By Karen Kogler
My position on our church staff is not a traditional one and frequently requires explanation. I’m the volunteerism person, but I don’t lead or recruit all our volunteers. My title, Director of Equipping, lines up with our core value of “Equipping Each to Serve,” but no one is quite sure what that entails. I’ve explained my job in various ways, depending on the audience. But recently, I decided to create one clear and simple way to explain to people what my team and I do.
I soon realized that clear and simple is not quick and easy. But the results, and the struggle itself, convinced me of the value of an in-a-nutshell explanation of a ministry. A mission statement and vision can serve that purpose for a church’s overall ministry. But every ministry of a church, whether nontraditional like mine, or traditional ones like Sunday school, ushers, or the annual rummage sale, can use a simple summary. Whether it’s a one-minute elevator speech or an image, a clear and compelling ministry snapshot has many benefits.
The creation process forces you to both think and learn. First, zero in on what’s really important. What is unique to this ministry? What is central and essential and what are extras? And why do we do what we do? Second, simplify and clarify. Pare it down; ruthlessly remove “insider” language. Third, share it with others who can give honest and helpful feedback. I’d pared mine down as much as possible before sharing it with trusted colleagues, who then told me it was too long. I surprised myself, and had a much better tool, when I cut it down another 50%!
More benefits come as you use this tool.
- Clear and simple motivates. Give your “nutshell” to people when you’re recruiting volunteers.
- Clear and simple unites. Share it with your current volunteers. It helps everyone see how all the pieces fit into one whole.
- Use your “nutshell” when you’re working with other ministry leaders. It explains your goals and needs.
- Use it as a guide when decisions need to be made - whether to start a new task or end a current one, and when conflicts arise within the ministry. What course of action best fits this picture of our ministry?
Regular and frequent use of your “nutshell” - in communications; at trainings, celebrations, and meetings - keeps you and your ministry volunteers united, motivated, and on track.
Editor’s note: If you’d like to see the “nutshell” Karen created for her ministry, jump over to her website here.
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