Task list vs. wish list

Posted on 11. Apr, 2012 by in Family, Fresh Ideas, Inspiration

I’m in the middle of writing an article about family ministry and it made me think of a specific frustration that I and my team experience so many times when it comes to family ministry. I thought I’d post my thoughts here as it isn’t likely this aspect will be covered in the article.

I and my staff team have all sipped the family ministry kool-aid. We’re all believers and have great vision for what family ministry could look like at our church. However, there’s one massive barrier. We’re all so busy doing what it takes to make the weekend experiences successful that there’s not really any time to do some of the things we’ve dreamed of doing. I kind of relate this to the task list versus the wish list. Sunday is huge and Sunday is super important. It’s critical and worth our time. However, we all recognize that impacting families, something we’re not doing nearly at the capacity we’d like to is also critical and could prove to be far more effective than just what we do on Sundays. Preparing for Sundays and leading teams to pull off weekend experiences is really what we were hired for. It’s on our job descriptions and could be equated to our task lists. If we didn’t do what was on our task list, it would be very noticeable and it would affect everyone immediately.

However, the wish list is different. We believe that if we do what is on our wish list combined with what we do on the weekends, we’ll see even greater returns on time and resources invested. However, if we don’t do what is on our wish list, most people won’t even notice. For the immediate future, no one will be affected. To some degree, this would just be ministry as normal for the past 20 years.

This is a quandary, isn’t it? We often really want to do what is on our family ministry wish list, but we don’t have time and often times our supervisors don’t understand or see the benefit for extra staff or resources. More often than not, we end up working a lot of extra hours to “make it happen” and end up creating additional programs that are unsustainable for the long-term… but we keep it going because it’s what we’re passionate about. It’s on ou wish list.

Have you ever found yourself here? Have any thoughts? I’ll probably continue this discussion tomorrow to explore some of the practical “next steps” for those in similar situations… but please speak up and share what you are thinking… or doing!

Meet Kenny

Kenny Conley has written 1891 posts on CMO.

Kenny Conley is the primary author of Childrens Ministry Online and the NextGen Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. In addition to creating the Illuminate Conference, a high quality kidmin conference designed specifically for volunteers, Kenny is a published author and speaker. For more biographical info, click here.


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3 Responses to “Task list vs. wish list”

  1. JC

    12. Apr, 2012

    Absolutely on all accounts. Talked to our parents about this… They love what we are doing, but we see the potential for so much more. But the resources aren’t there…yet.

    Right now we are trying to think of how we can release more to volunteers. So we can try to do the things that we want without sacrificing what we have. 

    It’s definitely stretching me as a leader. Excited to hear more of your thoughts on this subject.

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  2. Jesse Smith

    14. Apr, 2012

    This is exactly where we are. It’s been a number of months since we came up with the outline of our initial plan for helping parents understand their role as primary faith trainer and how we would begin to support them in that. So we laid the foundation – the Sundays and church continued to happen and we’ve been stalled. It’s slowly creeping to the top of the list agains, but in matters of such importance it can be frustrating that it isn’t at the very top of the to-do list.

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  3. Cathy Detherage

    24. Apr, 2012

    Definitely there.  I am so desperate for volunteers but I need volunteers who truly have a vision for children’s ministry and not just the warm bodies to corral kids.  On Sunday morning my staff consists of me and my one volunteer who shares my heart for kids.  She does the preschool kids and I do the elementary. I have 2 teenagers who help but they are limited in what they can do.  Most Sunday’s, one child needing a bathroom break requires a field trip for all.
    On Thursday night we have kids night where we do MPact Girls and Royal Rangers, and I do have teachers there, but some of them are not committed enough to be there each week.  I have visions of so many things in kids and family ministry but have neither the time, volunteers or resources to accomplish them.  Sometimes, you start wondering if you are where God wants you when your vision and the vision of the church members for kids ministry is so far apart.  It get’s discouraging.

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