One of the roles that we have as leaders is Chief Storyteller, where we have the opportunity to share and direct the narrative of our church, ministry, or organization. If you think about it, that's all we have. It's not our church. It's not our organization. We're stewarding a position of leadership that has been given to us because of the trust people place in us. We're not going to be in that position forever; all of us are interims.
And that's why it's important for us to be urgent in what we want to see replicated. We want to see behaviors, habits, beliefs, and action replicated. We want to see people inviting lost friends, connecting in Gospel conversations, serving in the church and their communities, sacrificially giving, investing in the next generation, building strong marriages, and more.
But then those things don't happen. Might I suggest that the reason they don't is that they're not celebrated, so they're not replicated? When we celebrate what we want to see replicated, we're visibly displaying victories that help propel us towards our mission & vision. When we don't, we get frustrated because the status quo continues to reign. But if we don't challenge the status quo by championing values and actions that push the mission, how will anyone know what it looks like?
Celebrate Stories & Testimonies - During our weekly gatherings, we'd be remiss if we didn't pause to celebrate what God has done. After all, the stories we're telling aren't about us. We're not the heroes. God is. And God is the one who saves a troubled marriage. God is the one who changes a heart towards generosity. God is the one who cultivates a servant's attitude. Brag on God. He's worthy!
Recognize Key Contributors - Typically only a small fraction of the people involved in the success of a ministry are ever visible. The overwhelming number are working hard behind the scenes without the luxury of a spot on the platform. But as the visible leaders, we can change that. I've seen churches recognize a "Volunteer of the Month/Year" or to call up a faithful teacher on their anniversary or do video montages of ministry contributors in action. Or it can be as simple as thanking the people who painted and renovated your fellowship area.
Funnel Resources Towards Replication - Church or ministry mission and vision statements only mean what they're willing to fund and support. So whatever we say we value or we say we want to see replicated, if we're not investing people resources, financial resources, facility resources, and undergirding with significant prayer, then we're not really serious about seeing it replicated. But if we truly believe it's important to replicate, then we'll give it the attention and focus it needs to succeed.
Privately Appreciate Replicators - So often what happens in our visible, public worship services is a drop in the bucket of what happens in the weekly life cycle of a congregation. Beyond the public cheering for replicators and replication, it's important for us to privately show our appreciation to those who are championing the vision. It can be as simple as the brief conversation I had today with one of our children's Sunday School teachers to thank her for her hard work. It can be a text message or email or a surprise of their favorite Sonic drink.
What else can you do to help celebrate what you want to see replicated in a church?
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Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.