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The Secret Sauce to Leading a Growing Family Ministry

As everyone who works in ministry knows, it’s hard. And crazy. And hard.

You never get it all done and every week there is a struggle to balance the urgent things with the important things. Consequently, it’s easy to fall into the trap of shifting into cruise and managing what we have going, rather than innovating and growing – both personally and in your ministry.

I don’t know a single family minister who doesn’t want to lead growing children, student, and family ministries. And let’s be clear - I define the term growth as spiritual health and effectiveness. I don’t mean numbers, though we absolutely care about connecting more people to Jesus. A growth in health usually goes along with growth in numbers.

In my time serving in the local church and learning from tons of other healthy family ministries, I’ve observed something I believe is the secret sauce to leading a growing family ministry, or any ministry, in growth:


Every great leader I know in ministry is a life-long learner. And learning doesn’t happen in fits and spurts. Instead, it has become a habit that is completely interwoven in their life.

They learn in different ways and through many different channels. But they all have a posture of humility and believe they can learn anything from anyone.

Maybe this isn’t news to you. Maybe you’ve heard this before and keep saying well that’s great, but…

So how can you realistically develop a habit of learning? Here are few things I have discovered:


I think the reason many leaders don’t have a rhythm of learning is because there is so little time. They’re overworked and treading water to get through each week.

I get that.

So, to start I recommend finding a way to learn weekly by using time that already exists in your schedule. One example might be reading and discussing a chapter of a book each week with your team so the accountability helps you follow through. Build that into your existing meeting schedule even if it means cutting something else out.


One of the greatest ways I have been able to learn is by getting around other leaders in family ministry. I recommend taking advantage of every opportunity to be around other leaders. I can learn so much from a short time with another leader. You can get around other leaders at conferences, on social media, or even by emailing them. Sure, some won’t have time to spend with you, but don’t say “no” for them. Some of the best relationships I now have with great leaders started with a tweet or an email.


Get in the habit of asking questions. Lots of questions. As you get around other leaders, ask about what they do and why they do it. After that, ask how they do it. Ask what their biggest ministry lesson has been. You might find yourself tempted to share what you do because you’re proud of it. Resist that. Use the time wisely to learn everything from them.


How do you learn? Is it a habit? What tips can you share about how to make learning a habit?

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