LEADERS WHO PARTY TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER.
Let me first define “the party.” A party is any and every time a group of people get together in order to have fun. Fun is the goal. There isn't a defined ministry purpose, Bible study, or time of reflection. The only thing on the agenda for the evening is to smile and have a good time.
Who says that only the world knows how to define a good time? For 29 years I have been a believer and a part of several leadership teams. The teams where I grew the most, had the most fun, and formed the healthiest relationships were the ones who intentionally took time to have fun together.
Ministry is work. We have great days and amazing seasons. Then there are the “other” ministry days we hope to forget or seasons we pray to end. Ministry can become a drain and isolation is the enemy’s playground for our fears and doubts to take root and grow.
There is a lot of sweat that goes into creating an atmosphere for ministry to happen. 90% of the work goes unseen or unnoticed. As a team player, how do we prevent burnout? How do we shepherd and guide a team through dark ministry days and doubt?
Throw a party. Yes, you read that right. P-A-R-T-Y! Everyone loves one. Everyone wants to be invited. Everyone wants to be included.
But wait...what if we forget someone? What if someone feels excluded? Tell them to join the team and they can come to the next one. Then make sure to throw the next party with tons of fun and amazing food.
SERVE IT AND THEY WILL COME.
Cook it. Buy it. Solicit your friends. Do whatever it takes to get some tasty treats and then invite your team. Get some paper plates and cups, make some coffee, and enjoy your friends. Get to know someone new and if someone is struggling…pray for them right then and there. Don’t gather everyone around. Just pray. You and them. Be intentional. Be available.
This is church and we are missing it. The lost are looking in our windows and they see our programs and our services and they wonder why should they give up their only morning to sleep in to go somewhere to sit alone. They do that all week in their cubicle. The church has to offer something different.
When Philip and I first met, we were part of an amazing and imperfect leadership team. Some of my hardest ministry days happened with that team. My heart was broken and restored and then broken again. I learned how to treat people and how not to treat people. I rode the highs and lows of 10 years of ministry in that church. I honestly thought I was going to stay there until I died, but God had other plans for our family.
When I look back on that leadership team and the relationships that were formed in that place, one thing stands out more than anything else…we had so much fun. We laughed and joked. We went to dinner together. We regularly had barbecues, picnics, Christmas parties, and retreats. We told stories. I knew those people better than anyone else. They became family.
We worked hard. We stayed up late and got there early. It was in those days, Philip and I learned how to prefer others, work out differences, and apologize unconditionally. We learned how to do life and we learned that ministry was life-giving and a joy to be a part of.
Even though it has been 12 years since we moved, some of my closest friends today come from that leadership team. When we get together, we still talk about things that happened and the events that changed our lives. We laugh about our crazy pastor and how much he loved Christmas. We joke about playing Christmas carols on kazoos and things our kids did when they thought no one was looking. These memories shaped me as a young woman in the church. I fell in love with ministry and I fell in love with our team (even the ones that I occasionally fought with).
Was that team perfect? No. Life is messy and so is church. No church is going to give me everything I want. A church will and should give me opportunities to connect with God and to others…and to have fun.
So if you and your team are struggling and feeling blue, take a leap and throw a party. Cheesecake is always a hit and when people ask if they can bring something say, “Yes, whatever you would like to bring.” No need to be a martyr.
Then put on some lipstick, let down your hair, and look people in the eye and show them that they matter to you. Even more…that they matter to Jesus.
And that is how you throw a PARTY.
Karaoke is just a bonus, but not necessary.
Living Completely Undone
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.