At any given time I have all the books that I am going to read for the next twelve months all picked out and ready to go. The problem is that there are always like a million that do not make my list for the next year because I just can’t make room for them. That is why I am absolutely, positively, shocked out of my mind, baffled when I hear from peeps that they do not read. I was told by one of my proffs early in my college career something that I would never forget. One of the dudes in my class was bragging about how he passed high school with high grades and flying colors without ever reading one full book all the way through. He was so proud of himself. My proff called him out. He said that the kid could prolly get through college the same way. But, don’t ever expect to be a person of influence of any sorts if he chose that path. I am not sure what that student did, but I took it to heart.
Those four years I did my best to read as much as possible. I was horrible at it and read slower than molasses. But I tried – not as hard as I should at times – and got through college. When I entered my Masters right out of college I found myself with nine books to read in a matter of 16 weeks. And really we were expected to get them all done by like week three if we wanted to get good grades. It was a whole new ball game. I literally prayed to God and told him that if I was going to make it through my program, a miracle would have to occur and cause me to endure reading. Well, it happened. That semester I learned to love to read. I have no idea what happened except that God answered me favorably.
Now I can’t get enough of reading. I have books that I will not get to until three years from now. I am backed against the wall with books. And every time a mentor gives me one to read, it just bumps one further back. I will get to them, however. I will read until my eyes bleed. Because ALL leaders are readers. So with that… what are you reading?
One of the best ways you can prepare yourself and your staff is to distribute information ahead of time, you know, like a proff does at the beginning of a semester or quarter in college. I am talking about so much information that your volunteers and interns are wondering if you are sane anymore. For instance, it is the beginning of September and most of us are in a place where we are scrambling to get the Fall schedule in order cause our midweek “kick-off stuff” is right around the corner. You know, weeks or sometimes only days away. You are still cleaning sand out of the car or unpacking from your last pool or house party of the summer. You have not had time to even look at what your Fall is going to look like yet. I know that it can be straight up madness. I have been there. Sometimes I still am. But I am getting better. And yo can too.
Start here. If you know what you are going to be doing this Fall and the stuff you are talking about, the activities, teams and outreach events – write them down. And do it in way that you can distribute it to your staff in early September before your school ministry season begins. You will see a world of difference in the way that your staff – and you for that matter – approaches ministry. And this is why. Your staff sees you in a couple of lights. The first is that you are running around and doing a million tasks at the same time. Secondly, they think you make up stuff at the last second, you know, right before the event or outreach nite starts. If you give them a packet of lessons, scripture, teams, games, phone numbers and ideas ahead of time they will take stuff more seriously.