Leveraging Mondays to Lead Small Group Leaders

Mondays can be hard. There never seems to be enough time or Coffee to go around.  My influence as a ministry leader really started to multiply when I started using GoWeekly as a tool to lead leaders. It really is one of my favorite go to resources to help manage Mondays and make the most of my week. I love the GoWeekly To-Do List that arrives in my inbox at the start of every week. I've bragged about this a ton. You really should check it out. Every Monday you get an email like this to help you lead leaders and influence parents. 

With your To-Do List in hand, you can log in to GoWeekly to get your hands on a ton of free resources to help you accomplish all the things. Goodies such as cool b-day card downloads, ready to edit and send leader and parent emails, and resources to help you lead small group leaders well. 

You also get your hands on a ton of resources and training videos filled with advice from people who do what you week in and week out. Here are a couple of videos I did with GoWeekly to help you lead small group leaders. There are more that come with your GoWeekly subscription. 

Hope they are helpful! 

disclaimer: I was not paid to write this and I don't get any financial kickbacks when you subscribe to GoWeekly. 


Birthday cards for Small Group Leaders

One of the most simple ways to encourage small group leaders and to cultivate a Lead Small Culture  is by remembering and acknowledging their birthday. Who doesn't love a birthday? Maybe you can't Fedex a cup of coffee and slice of yummy cake to your SGL's but YOU can mail them this fun little treat. 

Coffee and Cake in an envelope: 
  • The Birthday Cake gum I picked up at Target. I love Project 7 gum because it's a brand that seeks to do good in the world. 
  • I have a stack of $5 Starbuck Cards I keep on hand for Volunteer Appreciation. 
  • Remember to add the right amount of postage. 
Need FREE and AWESOME Birthday Cards for Small Group Leaders? 

If you are looking for trendy SGL themed [and did I mention FREE?] Birthday cards to send your volunteers, I have the perfect thing for you. You can get awesome printable cards at GoWeekly from Orange. Login [you need to be a subscriber....SO WORTH every penny]. Once logged in, go to the search bar and type "birthday." You will see a link to the downloadable cards. 

Short on Time? 
  • Screen shot a birthday card graphic and text it to your favorite volunteer. 
  • Send a Starbucks digital gift card straight to their inbox. 

Need something other than Facebook to remember their Birthdays? Try this...
1. Put them on your calendar. A calendar you actually look at. 
2. Check out Birthday Reminder
3. Put them in a group [called MY Few] in the Lead Small App


Youth Group Used to Be Boring Until....

from the YS Blog 
October 17, 2016
Gina Abbas
How long is your attention span?
Thinking about tacos already huh? I have approximately 4 minutes and 52 seconds until your attention shifts to something else. Adults can focus for about 5 minutes on a message until they check out.[1] Even the 20 second commercials before a Youtube video often seem too long. If teens are texting or updating their social media accounts while you are teaching and even your adult volunteer leaders seem ready for nap, there is help! You can create the right environment that engages their developing brain and keeps everyone tuned in and wanting more!
Here are a few simple hacks to keep students attention during youth group.


Simple ways to leverage Mondays in your Ministry

Does anyone love Monday? I typically roll out of bed to the sound of a 4 year old begging to play on my smartphone while eating Lucky Charms [the marshmallows anyways]. She likes shiny new technology and sugar. Preschoolers and middle schoolers. They are like the same thing. After sending the big kids off to school and dropping the littlest one off at preschool, I hit up Starbucks on my way into the church office.  A freshly brewed dark roast always makes Monday SO MUCH BETTER. Are you with me on that?

On Mondays I am more physically tired than every other day of the week and my mind occupied thinking about all the students, volunteers, and parents I just interacted with 15 hours earlier. A little bit of adrenalne kicks in because my brain does not shut off after a Sunday filled with purposeful activity.  I am in evaluation mode and fixed on improving whatever wasn't 100% in my Sunday environments. I am also looking ahead at the next 52 weeks, right? You too?

After the Orange Conference this year, I have been "Rethinking" my whole Monday. Here are a few ways I've am leveraging the beauty of Mondays in my ministry.

1. My GoWeekly subscription to assist with my post-Sunday hangover [ok not a REAL hangover people] brain fog. Go Weekly provides strategic cues, reminders, and resources do two things really well. Those two things are leading volunteers and partnering with parents. That IS the secret sauce of ministry. Empowering teams of volunteers and supporting families. Sometimes I refer to GoWeekly as my personal assistant, waiting at my desk on Monday morning with everything I need to rock my week, my month, and my year as a student pastor.

2. I get involved in the Mondays-Fridays of students lives. This year I've chosen to lock arms with Young Life and be more intentional about being on campus with students. Because if I am not in the loop of what Monday looks like for the students I serve, I am dramatically handicapped in the effectiveness of Sunday. I can't reach students or know what is really happening in their world if Sunday is the only interaction I have with them. You can't accomplish life changing ministry from behind a desk.  God is a God who is WITH US [Immanuel] and does not engage us from a distance.

Jesus was Jesus all week long, not just on Sunday. We don't have a Sunday savior, we have an everyday Immanuel. – @JonAcuff.

3. I care about the Monday of my volunteers.  I listen, I ask, I pay attention to what gets posted on social media and I make a point to PRAY for each of my volunteers by name on Mondays. I text volunteers to ask how I can be praying for them. This has been a game changer for me, because you are only as strong as your team and prayer is sometimes our most under utilized resource. Because it's not flashy. You can't show it off. You can't take attendance from it. But PRAYER is a powerful way to step into Mondays with your people.


Riding alone in cars with men

If you've ever scrambled for an approved co-ed carpool or eaten lunch alone because a male colleague can't grab a burrito with you, or tried to find a church approved ride from the airport to a ministry conference, you might be a woman in youth ministry. I totally remember sitting alone in my office eating my Cup o’ Noodles [I wrote a lot about this in my book, A Woman in Youth Ministry] as the boy pastors went to lunch [alone] together. What do you do when you can't grab a burger or drive alone with male coworkers? The whole separate but equal thing can be difficult to graciously navigate as a girl working in a field dominated by guys.

I was often not invited to executive level gatherings or to exclusive professional development weekends because it would mean traveling alone with my male colleague. A lot of men who work in ministry are forced to limit their interactions with women because of some policy designed to protect them and their marriage. I want to respect my brothers in Christ, well-meaning churches, and the boundaries they've established, but honestly? It's still so hard to be on the other side of it. Especially if you are an ENFP on the Myers Brigg like I am. ENFP's love to be included, share our ideas and hate the idea of missing out on things. For many women, these kinds of staff policies limit their growth as ministry leaders and foster bad communication between male and female staff.

Hey guys. Your interactions with female staff can be so much more healthy when you are not driving in separate cars, taking separate flights and constantly avoiding shared experiences together. Boundaries that keep women at arm's length deny women the same opportunities available to you. When women miss out on the lunches, trips, networking, staff engagement, mentoring, and the social camaraderie available to you, the result is an unhealthy and unequal workplace. Oh, YOU get to be golf buddies with the executive mega-church pastor? Why? because you are a guy? YES. Because he isn't going to invite the girl youth pastor.

sidenote: Because guys are never into guys, right? Our weird rules never seem to acknowledge same-sex attraction either [Ted Haggard, Eddie Long, etc]

A staff culture demanding strong boundaries to be placed between male and female colleagues create a culture that present women as a threat, a liability and a possible temptation. When men and women are not allowed to ride in the same car to travel to the same lunch meeting, what’s communicated is “We don’t trust you, we don’t honor you, and we don’t force you take responsibility for your own crap.” We make a rule out of fear for what could happen. Or fear because someone somewhere did something stupid. Fear. And I am pretty sure the Bible has a lot to say about fear.

Does every male and female staff relationship need to be seen as a sexual liability? I don't think so.
I am not a sexual liability. The women you work with are not a sexual liability. I am your sister in Christ. I am your colleague. I am my own person with my own love life, that you [the churches with the funky staff policies] are not valuing as whole and healthy. If you are struggling with your own marriage, your own sexual addiction, that’s your crap, not mine. I don’t need to have my admin assistant tag along to every meeting, just because there might be the tiniest possibility that we are totally into each other. Seriously people. I have a “type” I am very attracted to. And I married him. You are not it. You don’t float my boat. It’s degrading to both men and women to assume that every Starbucks meeting or carpool is an opportunity for sin to creep in. Seriously people. How is that living into my identity as a redeemed Child of God?  My fellow male and female youth workers and I are not attracted to every stinking person on the planet, so consider ending rules that make it seem that way.

Could these so called “healthy boundaries” and discriminatory staff policies lead to the very situations they are meant to prevent? When church sex scandal makes the news and trend on twitter, it’s more often than not in churches with all the “Thall shall not ride in a car alone with a woman” type of policies [Josh Duggar anyone? And Duggar church leader Doug Phillips] Do you wonder if there is a possible correlation between a male pastor inappropriately making an advance on a female staff member when church policy has been teaching him for years that women are sexual liabilities?

Whether you are a fan of strict boundaries between ministry colleagues or not, think about this: It’s not unhealthy boundaries that foster bad decisions, it’s unhealthy souls. When we talk more often about policies in the workplace, than our own spiritual and emotional health, we are given the opportunity to hide our darkest selves. How often is unsavory behavior hidden under the cloak of right appearances? [try Googling sex scandals in the church for proof this is often true] Are we perhaps creating a culture of liars who avoid riding together in the same car, but whose secrets stay hidden in darkness, because we get good at appearances and bad at transparency?

We can have more conversations about carpools or we can have more conversations about our walk with Christ. How is your soul? Who are you transparent and honest with so you are protected and healthy with or without the "rules?" Because we can hide a lot of sin behind a lot of rules. Or we can live openly and honestly and journey towards healthy relationships and respectful workplaces. When we tend to our walk with Jesus and live in the light of Christ, grabbing a burger with a male colleague is simply that. Getting lunch.

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