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for the curious about life and leading others

Love Your Work

Jared Kirkwood

Good work provides deep meaning to your life. Ministry is overloaded with programs, events, tasks, conflict, text messages, football games, parent phone calls, and the exhausting list goes on.  The tendency for most youth pastors is to "empower" their volunteers to do the work of the ministry.

But do your teams find meaning in the work you are asking them to do?

I recently read an article from Harvard Business Review ( that found "that people's everyday work lives are greatly enriched when they make progress at work that they find meaningful."

What follows is a compilation of ideas to create teams who are deeply connected with the work of the church:

  1. Know your vision and communicate it well.  You cannot lead your team if you have no idea where you are going.  Once you know it, share it often!  Help your leaders know that there is a plan and there is direction.  When something happens in support of that vision, celebrate it, highlight it, tell that story to anyone who will listen.  Show them the progress happening amongst them.
  2. The work your leaders do must serve a purpose in the ministry.  When they understand the big picture and do work that matches their deepest held beliefs, your team will skyrocket in effectiveness.  Amabile and Kramer put it this way: "make sure that [people] understand how their own everyday actions contribute to that goal."  A great leader will show followers how their actions serve a powerful purpose in the greater scope of the mission.
  3. Promote "real" connections.  Ministry is the work of people, in service of people.  Face-to-face connection is quickly becoming a lost art in America.  The more we can promote opportunities for this kind of interaction, the more real our ministry becomes.  The work we do is emotional, not informational.  A human connection implies emotional response.  Bring people to the center of what you do and wage a war against the isolation our society has defaulted to.
  4. Do meaningful work.  I am guilty of forgetting the heart of what we do at the church.  I can forget that Jesus is the hope of the world.  No matter what, Jesus is the meaning of who we are as a church.  When teams keep this simple, yet profound, truth at the center of their work, everything is restored as significant because the person of Jesus has brought meaning to the work.

Do you find meaning in your work? How are you creating these kinds of teams? What is working in your context to build teams who find meaning in their ministry?

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