Leaders spend most of their time either casting vision or solving problems. Casting vision involves sharing a positive vision of the future for your ministry even though you haven’t got there yet. Solving problems means taking a weakness in your ministry and looking for a solution even though it means dealing with negatives. So telling positive stories from your ministry reminds people of the positive elements that they have already accomplished.
People can’t spend all their time living in the future or dealing with problems. Our volunteers in ministry need to be constantly reminded that all their hard work and effort is achieving something. Sharing positive stories helps to remind people of the things the ministry has already achieved in a hope that more success will come in the future. Positive stories can remind people serving in your ministry why they do what they do.
Several times a year you should hold celebration nights where people in your ministry share their positive stories with each other. There is nothing better than hearing people share a story in their own unique way. Get each person to share a story from their perspective which not only gives a different perspective on the ministry but it also helps you get to know their style and personality.
So here are five questions to ask at your celebration nights to draw out positive stories from any group:
- What are the highlights from our ministry?
- When did we have a win? ask people to articulate how they think they have achieved part of the vision.
- What have you learnt? Focus on what you will do better in the future rather than the mistakes of the past.
- Who are we proud of?
- When did you see someone grow? This is perhaps the most important question because it is others centred.
In my 20 years of ministry I have witness many times of celebration where people have shared their positive stories. A few times have been whilst at a conference and our team have shared what we think we are doing right based on the speakers at the conference. Often the positive stories come out over a meal when the ministry team have more time together. The best celebration night I have ever been to involve everyone dressing up for a night of awards and storytelling; the night provided an hour of “open mic” time for people to share their stories.
The difficult in ministry is that we get so busy that we forget to share the positive stories until it is someone’s farewell party. We forget to thank our team members until they leave. Or we wait until the end of the year Christmas party to thank people for their hard work. Wouldn’t it be great if we thanked people and shared the positive stories from our ministry once a month? Imagine how much momentum it would build if we shared the positive stories a lot more than we reflected on the struggles.
So make a commitment to share the good news of your ministry within your church, after all we are meant to be people of the Good News.