By Steven Ackley
Some social scientists have suggested that the growth of technology, social media, and digital communication has radically altered the ability of people to relate to one another or have face-to-face conversations. I’m not able to confirm or deny this scientifically other than to say it has been true in my experience. One of the unfortunate side effects is the avoidance of interaction between people, even those who work together.
To ensure alignment of your ministry team, real interactions and regular time together are important. Here are ways to promote alignment through regular time with individuals and your team as a whole.
Death by meetings is a real thing, but the other extreme is dangerous too. If your team doesn’t regularly gather to coordinate and collaborate, alignment will be extremely difficult to achieve.
The family ministry team I lead has been through several iterations of meeting structures and schedules. What we’ve found to be the most effective is for directors to meet weekly to ensure a cohesive strategy is being owned and implemented by everyone. This allows the leaders of our ministries to preschoolers, kids, and students to coordinate ministry efforts and allows me the opportunity to keep our vision for family ministry in front of the team. We also have a monthly meeting with everyone on our family ministry team including interns, assistants, and associates This time is typically fun and helps develop a sense of community on our team.
Additionally, I meet individually with the lead members of our family ministry team to find out how I can advocate for them. It gives me the opportunity for accountability, and I find out what’s coming up that I can champion and support, which allows me to communicate with our senior pastor about what needs to be promoted. These meetings allow me to have alignment conversations to ensure the health and function of our team and ministries.
Walk the Halls
Each workday and during ministry programming, I walk the halls. This allows me to step into natural conversations about the ministry that leaders are planning and coordinating and gives me the chance to celebrate the wins and pray for the struggles. These conversations reveal questions and dilemmas and helps me to ensure alignment between ministry areas and even campuses.
During ministry programming, I try to be on the move as well. If there isn’t another place I need to be, I consider it my responsibility to extend the ministry of our leaders in the different family ministry areas. This allows me to show my support, talk to parents and leaders, interact with kids, and help assess the alignment of our ministries.
I consider it my responsibility to not only take a vested interest in the ministry that my team members lead but also their lives outside of their jobs. I do my best to know the names of their spouses and kids, their hobbies, what they are going through, and what they are striving for. This connection goes a long way when you’re asking people to do hard things, because they know you care about them personally.
Lastly, be sure you have fun together. There may not be extra money to take your team to lavish locations, but you can still find creative ways to have fun together. We’ve had 10-minute cornhole tournaments before meetings, gone to batting cages together, and schedule a monthly lunch. It may seem like a waste of time to the all-business type leader, but the fun has helped grow our team in unity.
Maintaining alignment on a ministry team will take work, intentionality, strong leadership, and time together. This time may be structured conversations about ministry and may be crashing go-karts until your side hurts from laughing. Whatever form it takes in a given day or week, know that the team that spends time together will grow together and alignment will be a far more likely reality.
Steven Ackley, his wife Emily, and their four kids live out their love for anything sports and Cookout milkshakes in Murfreesboro, TN where Steven serves as the NextGen and College Pastor at LifePoint Church. Steven holds a D.Min. and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.