Using communication to create ministry champions

My congregation is led by a team of lay-leaders called our Congregational Council, a group similar in function to a board of elders. When I was first hired nearly nine years ago, I was asked to write a monthly report to keep the council informed about what I was doing and what my ministry’s needs were. I viewed this as a way of accounting for my time each month. Although I never dreaded it, I certainly never looked forward to this task.

Nevertheless, for my first council update, I wrote out a detailed report nearly two pages in length. Each month that followed, I kept the same basic format but modified my report to reflect what I was currently working on. For eight years and four different council presidents, my council report basically looked and felt the same.

Month after month, I’d submit my report without ever hearing anything in response.

I figured no news was good news so I carried on.

Until, that is, just a few months ago, I met with my council representative. He admitted that while detailed, my council reports weren’t helpful. They were too long, too repetitive, and easily forgettable.

Intrigued, I asked him to tell me more.

He reminded me that whatever I prepared for council was going to business people, not church workers, and encouraged me to give them easily digest-able and repeatable talking points.

With that in mind, when I sat down to write my next council report, I radically altered its format. Instead of focusing on what I’d done during the previous month, I created a list of what I wanted council members to know. I came up with key talking points and then added a short paragraph of salient details for each. I titled my report “10 things every council member should know about our high school ministry” and sent it off to council members.

The result was immediate.

Read the rest of this article here. 


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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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