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New or Renew?

Jim Wideman

Recently I dropped my new phone and broke the screen. The manufacturer gave me the choice to "new or renew." Getting a new phone would've been easier and quicker -- but a lot more expensive. To get mine fixed was complex and required a longer wait, but it was a whole lot less expensive. I chose to get "renewed."

Too many people throw away good stuff because they don't want to deal with the work involved in renewal. This is true in life and in ministry. But if, as a leader, you aren't practicing renewal, you'll jump from project to project and wear out your team in the meantime. Here's how to make renewal a core component of your ministry.

Renew your thinking. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Evaluate your thinking by God's Word. Is it your instinct to scrap people, programs, or teams rather than seeing them in a new way through God's eyes?

Mature in your approach. One of the biggest obstacles to renewal is something I call too many babies in the crib -- the tendency to begin too many projects too quickly. Let your programs grow and mature before you add a new baby.

There are four stages of birth. Conception stage brings anticipation. Birth stage delivers excitement. Nurture stage is a season of growth and demand. (Think poop, feeding, and teething; this is where temptation often arises to scrap what you've got and build something new.) The fourth stage, maturity, is where leadership and influence gain momentum and credibility. People listen because you have a track record.

Step, don't leap. God leads us in single steps. Big things don't happen overnight -- to hold that expectation is to set yourself up for misery in ministry. We all must learn the power and importance of a single step.

Over the years I've heard many leaders argue for new over renew. It may seem easier to toss what you've got and start something -- or someone -- new. But if you want to build an enduring ministry that truly serves people and honors God, you've got to be willing to do the hard, often unglamorous work involved in renewal.

Jim Wideman (www.jimwideman.com) is the author of Volunteers That Stick (Group) and a children's ministry speaker and consultant.


Energy Zappers

Leadership can be stressful in itself, never mind dealing with people who drain and discourage you. Authors Shaun Blakeney and Wallace Henley guide readers to become leaders who inspire and help turn around taxing relationships. $14.99; Baker Books; www.bakerbooks.com

Midwinter Melt

If you're feeling drained and spiritually dry, recharge by renewing your relationship with God this season.

Put your spiritual wellness first. Take time to reset your priorities and refocus. Are you spending enough time on your relationship with God? If not, what changes can you make?

Take mini-breaks. Set aside short bursts of time each day to rest and reflect. You don't have to leave your office -- just sit, close your eyes, and enjoy a few seconds of peace.

Evaluate activities. Make a list of the tasks you do that add value to your ministry and those that simply take time. Set a goal to cut the items on the second list in half in one week through delegation, elimination, or reorganization.

Jordan Hardy
Bayfield, Colorado

Family Benefits

Organizations with established family volunteering programs list the key advantages to their programs as bigger volunteer pools, increased diversity, and higher community exposure.

Source: Volunteer Bénévoles Canada

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