Yesterday we had a ministry review day where we reflect on and pray over all that we are and do as a team. The first day of the school holidays is absolutely the best time for this because with the school term behind us and no deadlines looming for a couple of weeks the pressure’s off and our memories are fresh. Being natural born activists, this is a good thing.
Planning these sorts of days is always a bit of a balance between getting the structure right and allowing people space simply to be themselves and to allow God to speak so, if it’s any help to you, here’s what we did.
After sorting out a bit of tea and coffee, we started the day by spending some time alone with God, each of us finding a quiet place somewhere in the building.
Next up, we each shared about one thing we’re grateful for and one thing we’re not so grateful for. Not only was it helpful to hear other people’s thoughts, but we all found these questions a bit challenging in a good sort of way – precisely what the day is about. This led on to a question about the best and worst aspects of our organisation which is obviously quite a vulnerable question to ask. I wasn’t expecting any bombshells (if I had I would have spoken to people individually on a previous occasion), but I felt it was important to encourage people to be honest about any failings they were aware of.
We then spent some time praying over all that we had shared.
As part of our review I wanted to challenge us all to think beyond the constraints of our current ministry focus. To do this we deliberately stated and then challenged some of the underlying assumptions and main features of our ministry. This allowed us to explore how we might reach young people if these assumptions or features changed radically or even no longer existed. For example, if we were not able to work in a local school, or there was no viable church that could meaningfully work with young people in an area and at a time when we were seeing real breakthrough.
As we were about to break for lunch, worship drummer dropped in, just in time for us all to pop round to the local chippy. Eating together is an important team activity!
After lunch we got into big-paper-and-pens mode and wrote down everything we are doing, trying to do or thinking of doing. This really was one of those ‘try it and see’ activities because I wasn’t quite sure where it would go. Having filled the sheet of paper we prayed silently over it, then went for a walk together round the estate. This not only helped to prevent that after-lunch lull where everyone dozes off, but also allowed a fresh freedom to chat generally about the ministries we’re all involved in, away from any hint of structure that may be, or appear to be, imposed by walls and chairs and paper and questions.
Once we were back from the walk we looked again at all the things written on the big sheet of paper and prayed again that God would direct our thoughts and focus our priorities. Out of this time came a startlingly clear sense of overall purpose and a number of specific words about things we should be doing and, more to the point, things we should be calling time on. It was as if the words on the paper had suddenly achieved a three dimensional quality, with the most important standing taller than the rest.
After a quick review of any resources or training needs we concluded with a final round up of things we each needed to do in response to the day and then prayed together.