The “5 by Five” Approach To Setting Priorities

As a Kidmin Leader, there are a ton of responsibilities you have to juggle on a daily basis.  Those who are tasked with overseeing Nursery, Early Childhood, Elementary, Family Ministry, Outreach & Evangelism, and all of the other departments that often fall under the leadership of the Children’s Ministry often have a difficult time keeping everything straight.

Time management is difficult.  Keeping “the main thing” in perspective is equally as difficult.  How does one organize and prioritize the week without losing sight of the details and ultimately failing to get some things done that MUST be done?

There’s not a sure-fire way to handle this.  But, I would like to share with you one method (albeit an OLD-fashioned and possibly outdated method) that I have found to be extremely effective in my ministry:  The “5 By Five” list.

At the beginning of the week, generally on Sunday afternoon in my office, I look at the tasks and priorities that need to be done in the next week.  I look at the work week in terms of 5 days since the average full-time Kidmin Leader has one day off and Sunday is…well…Sunday (hello!).

I compile an exhaustive list of all the tasks and items that need to be completed that week.  Some weeks there are upwards of 20+ items.  Then, I go over the list and pick the FIVE most important things in the list.  These five things are THE most important.  If I don’t get these five things done in the next five days, I’m toast.

I place those five items on my “5 by Five” list.  I place that list in a prominent place in my office (generally right below my monitor facing me, just above my keyboard).  When I start my week on Monday, I work off of that list FIRST.  I don’t do any of the other items until THAT list is complete.

Our tendency is to choose “easy” items first – things that are accomplished quickly or things that we enjoy doing.  This is not good.  We can end up accomplishing many of the easy, less significant tasks and running out of time to accomplish the harder, more important tasks.

If we follow the “5 by Five” method, we will accomplish the MOST important things first, then start rocking on the less significant items.  It’s amazing how much less stress we feel as we go through the week once we know that the MOST important things are DONE.

Thoughts?  What method do you use for prioritizing?  Share your ideas with us.  Let’s become more productive as we carry out our mission to reach kids for Christ!

The Kidmin “Secret” Weapon

If you’re looking for something that will take your Kids Ministry to new heights, I have the answer for you.  If you’re looking for that one ingredient that, if you add it, will make an immediate impact – I can tell you exactly what it is.

Prayer.  Now, I am sure you are thinking, “Brilliant, Brian.  This is not new news.”  True.  However, that doesn’t mean it is not one of the most effective disciplines you can have as a Kidmin Leader.  Too many forget this, and rarely use prayer to its fullest potential.

We cannot be prepared and enabled to fully serve and love the kids God has given us without first committing them to prayer.  Each of us want to honor God and serve His children, but the motivation has to come from the Holy Spirit, and without his strength, we am not able.

Commit to pray for your kids.  Pray for them weekly.  Perhaps choose 5-7 each day and pray for them by name.  Pray for God to reveal His will for their life.  Pray for protection for each of them at school, at home, and in their neighborhoods.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word of God to them.

And pray for them in front of them!  They need to know that you are praying for them.

Thinking For A Change

Some of us haven’t made any changes to the way we approach our ministry in a long time.  If you are still doing ministry the way you were the first year you started, then it’s time to think differently.   “Thinking For A Change” takes some intentional focus.  Here are a couple of thoughts to help you become a better thinker…

How to be a better thinker:

1.    Set aside thinking time.

You will never be a good thinker unless you plan to.  You need to set aside time in your schedule that is distraction-free.  Take the time to think through and pray through all the different strategies you are implementing in ministry.  Ask God to give you a fresh perspective about these strategies.  Some may require tweaking.  Others may require overhaul.  One thing is for sure, you will never “fall into” thinking time.  It has to be scheduled and planned.

2.    Spend time with good thinkers.

Are there some great thinkers in your church?  Maybe they are business people, but God has gifted them with great thinking skills.  Are there Kids Ministers in your area that you respect?  Listen to how they process things.  Analyze the way they attack issues and difficulties.  It will stretch your ability to think.

For example – if you are a bad golfer, you don’t choose to play with guys that are as bad as you.  You know you will never learn anything.  Instead, you try to talk a couple of good golfers to let you tag along their foursome.  You try your best to pick up their habits and approaches.  It’s the same with thinking skills.

Find a good thinker:  ask them what they see, watch who they hang around, they don’t always act like they have the answer.  When they don’t know the answer, they go search and find someone who does.  Do the same thing.

3.    When you are with a good thinker, ask “WHY” they do what they do.

The person who wants to be a doer (task oriented) will ask “what do you do?”  The person who wants to be a learner asks “Why do you do what you do?”  It’s all about knowing what you don’t know.

Who are the thinkers that you can learn from?  Call them or email them this week.  Set up a time to meet with them.  Ask God to guide the conversation.  It’s time to THINK for a change!