Start! It's your First Week in the Office
Ok, in this post I discussed my first week. In this post, Becca shared the foundation of building your ministry. Before continuing with this post, check those out!
So I had my broad list of what to do. What do I do when I actually have a desk, parents calling before I’ve even set up a voicemail at that desk, and maybe prayerfully an admin?
I know you know this, but I have to say it.The advice I give you is what worked for me. Like all advice- pray through it and see what is for you, your work style, your personality, and the culture of your church.
My first week, I met with everyone who set up an appointment. Mondays were meeting days, but for the people who wanted to meet on Mondays, I met at 6 am or 6 pm or later. I met with probably 15+ people easily every day. And, not all of them were happy-so-glad-you-are-here meetings. Some of them were heavy, heart- breaking conversations. On Thursday of that week I collapsed on our couch and I’m not sure I even told my husband good night I was so emotionally weary.
Monday, after one of the meetings, our student pastor called me in his office. I’ll never forget that conversation. He said, “Amy, I’m so glad you are a hard worker. But, I didn’t hire you to last 2 months. You're going to wear yourself out and that's no good for me or for these girls. I want you here longer. Figure it out.” So, I got out my trusty journal and prayed. Ha!
I began to order my days based on priorities- priorities set by my list from above and based on what my bosses expected of my position.
On Mondays we had staff meetings. Leaders were my priority when I wasn’t in a meeting. Every Monday I had lunch with a different small group leader. No agenda. I wanted to know them. I asked them their story. Ya’ll this turned into one of my most favorite things I did. I laughed, I cried, and I clapped every week.
One woman was born completely blind. Her parents were atheist. Her mom went into severe depression because she “didn’t know how to raise a blind child.” One day, when she was a few months old, her mom prayed something like, “God, if you are real. Make my kid see.” Immediately her husband started laughing. She ran to the next room and her little baby was reaching for her dad to hold her for the first time BECAUSE SHE COULD SEE HIM!! They went to a church and heard the Gospel and followed Christ a few months later. They told her this story when she was in elementary school. She had no idea. She thought she had parents who had been Christians since they were little kids.
I could tell so many stories here. The point is. I heard their story. I asked how I could pray for them and the girls in their group. I asked how I could serve them. It was a refreshing and fun time every week. After lunch, I called 2 leaders and set up future lunches. Between meetings, I also wrote 2-3 letters to leaders thanking them. My desire was for these to not to be generic, so I wrote something specific. I tried to catch them doing something good. So, I might write: “I loved overhearing you pray for your group as I was walked by yesterday. May God bless and answer and fill their hearts with faith as they see prayers answered! Thanks for serving with us.”
Ask God to open your heart to love the leaders. They are not there to volunteer for girls events. They are your co-laborers. Thank God for them, see them, pray for them, bless them with your words, and partner with them.
I lead a discipleship group of 12 small group leaders at 6:30 am followed by our large staff meeting. Tuesdays were for school lunches and discipleship. I met with a group of 3 girls after school, and then a group of 2 afterwards. After work another girl joined me on dog walks and we talked about what we had been reading and sharing with others.
Wednesdays were for preparing for things we had on Wednesday night and/or upcoming events. I am not a counselor, but I scheduled meetings with girls and families going through a crisis. I did not set up more than 3 of these meetings each Wednesday, because I needed my heart to be in a good place to pour out at Wednesday night groups.
On Thursday mornings I focused on ministering to moms. I worked on a monthly email that included articles, opportunities to serve with their daughters and a devotional. I planned moms events, connected moms to each other for coffee and friendship, and called 2 moms on the phone to pray with them. Then, school lunches and discipleship in the afternoons.
Saturdays & Sundays
we had services.
I had many other things that filled my days. If I taught at a local FCA on Thursday morning, I could still be in my office around 9 to start my email to moms. If I went to a track meet on a Wednesday morning with the high school minister and intern, I could still keep my afternoon appointments with families. No two days in ministry (or life) look the same, so I highly encourage you to organize a plan for your days.
After a few weeks of this, I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I was able to give time to people, instead of sitting in my office feeling overwhelmed because I couldn't get all my “work” done. A lot of young girls ministers I talk to feel crippled by the fear of not knowing how to balance meeting with girls, emails/office work, leaders, parents, and ever having time to get groceries.
With any job, especially ministry, you have to be flexible. If it was the week before camp, my week definitely didn’t look like this. But, having this plan definitely made me not only last longer than a month, but thrive in relationships with the parents and leaders I partnered with and the girls I mutually mentored. Happy Planning - Amy