In grade school I was a fantastic procrastinator. Projects, papers, book reports – I left them all to the last minute. In fact, it wasn’t abnormal for me to read a book, write the report, and prepare my presentation all in one night (while also making time for Little League practice). My motto was, “Why do now what I could do later?” Unfortunately, I got so good at procrastination that it went from being a habit to an art form, following me into high school, college and eventually, ministry.
While I was able to pull it off in school, ministry was a whole other story. My work habits no longer affected only me. In fact, I had a team of people waiting on me to give them what they needed so that they could minister effectively. By waiting until the last minute to get things done, I was stressing out my Core Team, which of course had an impact on the teens we ministered to.
You see, in ministry, when we throw things together at the last minute we’re basically telling those we serve, “My time is more important than yours.” And I don’t think any of us want to communicate that to teens. So, if you’re a youth minister who’s struggling with leaving things to the last minute, here are some tips to help you get things done (before the last minute).
Set Quantifiable Goals With Concrete Deadlines.
It’s important to set goals that you can measure. When you say to yourself, “I’m going to get better at planning Life Nights ahead of time,” you leave too much leeway. You need to be more specific. How much better would it sound if you said, “I’m going to plan three Life Nights by Friday”? By doing this, you can measure your progress more effectively and hold yourself accountable more easily.
Write Them Down.
One of the best things I’ve done for myself is to write down my goals and deadlines. It’s one thing when you say a goal to yourself in your head, and it’s another thing when you write it down and it’s staring you in the face. Imagine it’s Friday afternoon and your friends want to go see a movie, but you’ve only written two Life Nights. You still have one more to go. Now, if you only set that goal in your head, you may think, “It’s ok. I’ll just do the third one later.” But, if you wrote it down, and it’s staring you in the face, you’ll think twice about going to that movie.
Share Your Goals With The Core Team.
When it comes to goals, it’s also vital to share them with your team. By doing this, it allows your Core Team to hold you accountable, and the more accountability we have, the more likely we are to succeed. But, beyond this, it may also inspire your Core Team to set their own ministry goals. Your example may inspire them to change their mindset from, “I’m gonna do better relational ministry” to “I’m going to call three teens by the end of the week to see how they are doing.” Now, wouldn’t that transform your ministry?
These are just three tips to help you overcome ministry procrastination. I am sure there are many more. What are some goals you have for your ministry? Share them below (but, let’s not wait until the last minute to do so).