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3 Steps for Avoiding Ministry Mishaps

3 Steps for Avoiding Ministry Mishaps


Having five kids, the dirty laundry is an area that gets backed up a lot. Picture how much laundry you think there is, and then multiply it by a factor of about a million. Seriously though, there is always so. much. laundry. I think it’s actually become sentient and replicates in the laundry room…my wife disagrees. 

As our kids have gotten older, we’ve had them take on the responsibility of doing some of the wash. The other day, my wife and I were sorting through the clean wash, and I grabbed a pair of my jeans to put on. They weren’t just a little damp, as is sometimes the case. They were soaking wet. I was prepared to hang them up in our room when my wife noticed quite a few items that were also more than a bit damp. In fact, there was a whole load of clothes that were not even close to being dry. It turns out our teenager wanted to get some of his wash finished and had pulled out the current load so he could start drying his clothes. My teenager was thinking only about his clothes and the fact they needed to be washed and dried. So much so that he totally ignored the fact that this load was clearly not finished drying.

I know what you’re probably thinking. Chris, thank you so much for sharing! This is headline-making information. “Teenager decides to take clothes out of dryer too early.” But hear me out. This same thing happens between you and your volunteers. You think you’re on the same page. You’ve sent out the music ahead of time, clearly communicated critical times and dates, and all the other very important details. Then on the day of…wet jeans. How does this happen?

1. Communicate the Desired Outcome

As for my laundry situation, my son knew exactly how to “do the wash.” He knew how to set the timer for both machines, knew how to add soap, and knew what to do with the clothes once the timer chimed. To no one’s surprise, his clothes had come out of the dryer completely dry. So

where was the miss? As simple as it sounds, we didn’t desire the same outcome. My desired outcome was for ALL the clothes, of which there are so many, to be washed and dried. His desired outcome was only that he had his favorite outfit ready to wear to school tomorrow (presumably to impress all the girls). 

It may seem like an unimportant detail, but the fact of the matter is, if we aren’t communicating our desired outcomes with our volunteers, we end up not getting the results we’re hoping for. It might get done, it might get done halfway, or it might not even get done at all.  But it’s definitely not going to be that fluffy, fresh load of laundry if everyone is only worried about their own closets being filled.  

2. Provide the Why

Don’t miss this one! It’s crucial to share the why of the ministry! Equally as important as training your volunteers how to do the work is why they do the work. How often are you sharing your vision or the why behind what you do with your volunteers? Have you taken the time to write down the why of your ministry? How often are you sharing that resource with your volunteers? Once you cast that vision, the mission, and the why of your ministry, your team will catch on and be much more willing to be part of it. But without a why, the how becomes just another task to be finished.

3. Equip Them for Ministry

Once you’ve provided the why and cast vision for what you want to happen in your ministry, let your volunteers do what they came to do…serve! Not only does the why give reason to

the how, but it also allows your volunteers to take ownership of what they do. They might step in and dry that unfinished load without being asked. They might bring in more hands to help with the never-ending piles. They might even have a complete change of heart when it comes to serving. And your end result, your dry jeans, will be that much closer to what your people need. Your ministry will be much more effective, valuable, and unified. Share your how, for sure. But don’t forget the why, the heart, as you lead your team.

If you are stuck and need to be encouraged, please get in touch with me. It would be my pleasure to connect with you. I believe in you, and I’m praying that God will give you grace and understanding and reveal Himself to you in new ways.


Here are a couple of helpful examples of what your “why” could look like to help get the juices flowing:

  • Worship is more than the songs we sing. We want our worship atmosphere to be a celebration of the work God has done in us, and we do this through singing, prayer, reading Scripture, and sharing stories of His work. It is the expression of God’s truth interacting in our John 4:23-24 – Corporate & Personal Worship
  • We are responsible for cultivating a lifestyle of biblical worship in Spirit & Truth. Are you cultivating a lifestyle that reflects Spirit & Truth and is a living sacrifice? (John 4:23-24 and Romans 12:1-2)


Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:

  • When was the last time you shared the “why” behind what you do with your volunteers?
  • Are there any specific ways you’ve cast vision before that have been particularly helpful for your team?

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