It is relatively easy to create and set trends in ministry these days. It can be as simple as starting a new program for discipleship or changing the style of worship that stretches your people.
There is nothing wrong with creating trends and it is often rewarding. There are thousands of websites, books, blogs and seminars dedicated to understanding trends and explaining their development. However, the downside of only being a trend setter is that you spend a lot of time, energy and money on getting a trend rolling and it usually exits as quickly as it entered.
While the trend is new, you as a leader are labeled “relevant,” “fresh,” and “exciting.” But as soon as the trend has become another program on the list, it becomes labeled as “outdated,” “time consuming” and “irrelevant.” The brand new baby everyone can’t wait to hold becomes the uncle everyone acknowledges but tries to avoid at family gatherings.
Every ministry has a vision (hopefully). In that vision you have to have values. The difference between values and trends is the simple fact that values are foundational and non-negotiable, whereas trends are seasonal and are set only to accomplish a specific task at hand. Values have to be talked about often. Your staff or team has to know what your values are because they should directly affect the actions of your ministry.
To determine your values, here are a few questions you and your leadership team should ask:
- What are the things we, as a ministry, go after weekly?
- What are the things we are willing to set aside?
- What are the hills on which we are willing to die defending?
Your ministry will not only be deeper if you set the values in place but it will be wider. Why? Because you will be setting a foundation. That foundation represents a framework that you can apply to every decision your ministry makes moving forward. It relates back to your unique, God-given, DNA.
Identify your values and ensure your ministry is in proper alignment with those values. In my opinion, there’s no better place to start.