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My Cup Overflows:
Managing a
Multi-Faceted Ministry

That’s when they ask church workers to wear many hats and use their gifts and talents in a multi-faceted ministry.The idea of being in charge of several parish education programs plus a preschool program may seem daunting at first, but with good leadership and a strong team, things can really come together for the good of the parish as a whole.

Small LCMS congregations may want a church professional for all of their children’s programming but may not have the budget for separate workers for each part of the ministry. That’s when they ask church workers to wear many hats and use their gifts and talents in a multi-faceted ministry. Workers in a small congregation may be in charge of everything that includes children such as preschool, Sunday, VBS, and youth groups.

How then do workers balance all aspects of a multi-faceted ministry?

Getting Support from Other People 

First, small congregations can support their church workers by surrounding them with part-time employees who are dedicated to the mission. An example would be to provide the worker with someone to manage the budget and finances and another for handling the marketing and publicity. These employees become leaders in their roles of ministry, and the supervising church worker and the congregation allows them to make decisions in their areas of expertise. 

Next, church workers can take advice from corporate America and learn to put people first. The mantra is “If you surround yourself with good people and treat them right, everything else falls into place.” While small congregations often cannot provide corporate type benefits, such as reimbursement for college or a company car, they can and do offer intangible benefits such as a family atmosphere or flexible working hours. By doing this, these people will provide support for the multi-faceted ministry to which God has called them.

Small congregations operate like families, and everyone pitches in where needed.Last, but certainly not least, are reliable volunteers. Small congregations operate like families, and everyone pitches in where needed. Congregation members can serve as Sunday School teachers, VBS teachers, youth leaders, and helpers in the preschool. In congregations where the body of Christ is reluctantly involved, the governing board or the pastor can and should encourage involvement. This is a biblical principle in that Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (GNT) says, “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one falls down, the other can help him up.”

Time Management 

As you can imagine, time management is paramount in this type of position. Using a digital notebook helps to keep things organized. In this notebook, keep a punch list, notes from meetings, and notes for future planning.

Schedule regular office hours. For example, if you’re the preschool director and have other youth duties, your regular hours could be 8:30–3:00 during the week to manage the preschool, and then you could spend your remaining hours with youth activities, Sunday School, or at meetings. 

Develop regular routines. We know that children like routines, and adults aren’t any different. Plan your day, week, month, and year with a routine or rotation in mind. Your daily plan could include the routines of checking messages and visiting classrooms. Weekly routines can include writing newsletters, compiling Sunday announcements, and ordering supplies. Monthly activities could include newsletter writing, report writing for the board, and budget analysis. Annual planning can serve as the basis for the other planning for big events like back to school nights, rally day, and Christmas programs.

A “to-do” list is imperative. Having one helps in planning, and keeps you on track. It also helps to jot things down that may slip your mind— i.e., don’t try to rely on your memory to call someone later. Additionally, checking things off of the list provides great satisfaction for completed tasks. 

Using email instead of a meeting is good for staff communication, sending out schedules for volunteers, and gathering information for upcoming events.E-mail offers potential for efficiency. How many times have you said, “That meeting could have been an email?” Using email instead of a meeting is good for staff communication, sending out schedules for volunteers, and gathering information for upcoming events.

Sign Up Genius® is an effective way to make sure all of your volunteers know what they are responsible for at your next event. This free web-based program allows people to sign-up for events like fundraisers or potlucks and will send reminders to the people who signed up. This use of technology saves hours of phone calls or other traditional methods of communication.

Work-Life Balance 

As a worker in the church with multiple duties, you could easily find yourself stretched too thin. This would ultimately affect the ministry. Be sure to keep your priorities in balance in order to have a flourishing personal and professional life.

Although Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:22, “become all things to all people,” you cannot be everything to everyone at one time. Don’t work to extremes. In doing so, you become your own worst enemy.

As mentioned in the time management section, make regular office hours. This also means not taking work home. The priorities during time off should be to focus on recreating and rest. If need be, actually put these things on a calendar to make sure they happen.

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Here are the top ten things to do for yourself:

Regular days off and a focus on health will keep workers at their best for the work in God’s Kingdom.Balancing the aspects of a multifaceted ministry is possible for church workers. Having support from people such as part-time employees and reliable volunteers provides assistance in job related tasks. Good time management techniques, such as routines, regular office hours, and the efficient use of technology help in being organized. Regular days off and a focus on health will keep workers at their best for the work in God’s Kingdom. With all of these things working together, congregations can have a professional church worker as an overseer of many aspects of the ministry while at the same time supporting the worker.

Chrissy Heiss serves at Trinity Lutheran Church in Huntley, Illinois as the Preschool Director and Youth/Sunday School/VBS Administrator.

ENDNOTE

1. Rosborg, Jim, McGee, Max, and Burgett, Jim, What Every Superintendent and Principal Needs to Know. Novato, California: Education Communication Unlimited, 2006, Chapter 12.

Illustration by Kathryn Brewer.