Mar 6, 2018

Focus on Sunday (guest article by Jay Hostetler)

Today's article is from my friend, Jay Hostetler.  Jay is a 35 year veteran in ministry as a full-time pastor.  He is passionate about teaching and coaching other leaders.

Jay has served as an adjunct professor of Christian Education at Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA. and Northpoint Bible College, Grand Rapids, MI.  He has also been a consultant for two Christian publishers.

His travels include time with John Maxwell as a guest lecturer, moderating for Leadership Network and speaking for Christian Communication Network, International Network of Children’s Ministry, David C. Cook and Group Publishing.

I have personally been inspired, encouraged and blessed by Jay's ministry over the years and am excited that he is investing in you and I today through this article.  You can get more information about Jay and his ministry at www.ministrywave.com.   He offers coaching, consulting and leadership guidance for ministries.

Focus on Sunday by Jay Hostetler
 
I have had the privilege of spending many Sunday mornings with children and adults through my ministry tenure.  It would be a huge understatement to say the Sunday a.m. experience is constantly changing.

For me a Sunday morning experience changed my life when I was 11 years old.  I also know that there are many kids in your community that need the trajectory of their life changed. 

As a leadership coach and church consultant, I have visited hundreds of churches from coast to coast.  Though some have been medium size and some very large, one characteristic is becoming alarmingly obvious.  Some leaders are unfortunately not asserting the necessary focus on Sunday.  In today's world of infrequent attendance and quick-look first time guests, doing ministry the same week after week is not adequate.

I had a recent conversation with a ministry colleague around the missional vs. attractional debate.  My conclusion is that being attractional should be part of our mission.  So how do we focus on Sunday in such a way that it will attract more families?

Focus on messaging - what are we saying through our environments and guest services?  I hope our message is positive, exciting and welcoming.  It's up to us to train our team to look for the guest, connect with the child and make sure he/she has a positive experience in a new place.  And for our regular attending kids, the environment must have changing attributes to support impactful lessons.

Focus on surprises - many years ago, I met a 4th grader in the hallway of our church.  He looked sad, so I engaged in conversation.  He informed me he wasn't coming to large group because he had our routine memorized and didn't think anything new was happening.

That changed my view of preparing for Sundays.  Routine may be good for some kids, but program changes can create freshness for kids who need it!  In their ever-changing world of devices and apps, they expect creativity in our settings.  It's up to us to challenge ourselves to make it interesting and dynamic.  What is changing in your routine, technology, curriculum and music to keep the space engaging for kids?

Focus on engaging families - young families are looking for a means to connect and serve.  This may mean engaging them with opportunities as an extension of your Sunday morning.  A morning focused on outreach followed by an activity together as families doing the event.  This has the potential for recruiting down-line.

Focus on energy - during the many Sundays I have been the leader, it wasn't always easy to flip the high energy button to the "on" position.  But it was important to bring that energy and I realized how reflective it was.  I affected other teammates, and soon we had the best energy to serve kids and families. 

Focus on execution - what are you trying to do on Sunday?  Know your plan and learn how to execute it.  Getting through a Sunday with no major problems is not a good metric.  "We survived another Sunday" is not inspiring to your paid team or your volunteers, and yet I've heard it said.  Step it up with goals that make your Sundays feel like wins for you and your team.  

I know as a ministry leaders that your plate is full.  There are many elements of ministry from curriculum choices, safety protocols, recruiting, budgets, events, etc.  But I would encourage you to keep your focus on Sunday - it is the most important day of the week for the kids we serve.

Let us know become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  
-Galatians 6:9

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