There’s an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease–and that’s true, but we have to be careful that there’s also not a “slam” with the squeak. While on a mini get away with family a while ago, we stayed in a cute little cabin nestled deep in the forest. It was perfectly peaceful except for one thing: the door. Worse than its squeak was its slam. The catch was broken, so every time someone came in or out of that cabin, there was a squeak–then a slam! It was jolting! Every! Single! Time!
Most certainly you can be the voice for the children and families in your church. Blow the trumpet and sound the alarms for the next generation. Just do so in a way where appropriate attention is drawn to the need and not in a way where there is so much “slam” that no one wants to be a part. Be honest with your needs, but don’t be needy. There really is a difference.
Share what’s going well. Telling God-stories is a great way to communicate vision and passion in a way that is both attractive and compelling. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so take them and share them. Convey what God is doing in the hearts and lives of the kids you see. Forward emails and notes that help others see how God is at work. If you share the good stuff often, then the times that you share problems or concerns will be a lot more balanced.
Be a joyful, can-do person. Avoid complaining without offering solutions. When you have a legitimate issue, present it clearly but also present the ways you believe it could be resolved. Do your homework and give real life scenarios complete with bottom line costs and timeframes.
And when you have a complaint, try couching it the “compliment sandwich.” Start and end with a positive statement. For example: “I love that our campus is so multifunctional and every room is used so often. Sometimes, though, it catches us off guard when we come in and find our items have been moved and we don’t know where to find them. I’m sure this happens to everyone, so I have come up with this chart to help all of us know where we can keep our things. I’m hoping it will help everyone’s ministries flow better and give us all peace of mind. Sarah and John work so hard on the youth program, I’d love for this issue to be one less thing for them to think about.” (Bonus tip: the compliment sandwich is great for just about every confrontation. Try it with your spouse!)
Be a team player. No man is an island, and that includes you. If there are other people on staff with you, take part in helping other ministries be successful; pray together and help carry each other’s loads. Church staff relationships really can be healthy, and you really can be friends and true partners in ministry together. There’s nothing the enemy would like to do more than stir up strife and cause division. Don’t let that happen. Pray and work together. Be a team.
Relationships are everything. Just as we want our children to grow in relationship with Jesus, with their leaders, and with each other, so children’s ministry leaders must do the same. Increased opportunities to influence don’t come because of a title or staff position, but instead from a life lived cultivating relationships that genuinely care for others. Titles and the number of Facebook friends a person has are nothing compared to “who is at your table.”
Bottom line, your Pastor has a lot on his plate. Be the kind of person he can count on for support and to get things done well in his absence. Just think about the kind of person you trust and go to for wise counsel, and be that kind of person. Combine that with prayer, and your Pastor will welcome your thoughts and ideas.