It’s frustrating when I walk into a church and see ministry being done exactly the same way it was being done when I was a kid. Sometimes I come across websites filled with resources for kidmin volunteers to do the same thing I was doing 15 years ago. I’m not putting down past methods, not at all. There was a day in time when “This Little Light of Mine,” “I am a CH” and “Awesome God” was on the playlist almost EVERY SINGLE WEEK! Those were the days and I never look back thinking, “What in the world was I doing using those cheesy songs?” No, they worked then. But the kids in my church today will never hear those songs from me. We’ve innovated and moved to what is next.

We live in a very exciting time for ministry. It used to be at the annual conferences that we discovered the new methods, materials or products that would enhance what we would do on the weekends. Today, innovation is only a click away. An hour of online research allows us to see new ministry environments, sample new music, and watch new resources in action – whenever we’re available. The only thing needed is a little time to seek out who opportunities are available.

Ministry leaders without any personal social media accounts make me nervous. Ministry leaders who rarely attend a conference or never visit other churches confound me. Never before have we lived in an age where the free flow of information and ideas was as readily available. Now there’s no excuse not to innovate.

Corey Schwartz, my longest running employee (ever) was a true example of someone with this trait. I hired Corey seven years ago as the Children’s Pastor for another Gateway Campus. My first exposure to this trait was the first time I got mad at him. When I hired him, his job was primarily to execute ministry at his campus. The larger campus prepared curriculum, supplies and other resources, Corey only had to invest in his volunteers and execute. I remember one Sunday when I came to visit him at his campus. I stepped into the elementary environment and immediately noticed the presentation graphics. They looked amazing! I noticed these because I had just seen the presentation graphics at the main campus and they were anything but amazing. I asked Corey how this happened. He responded that he didn’t like the graphics, so he found better ones. I told him that it wasn’t okay that he had slick presentations while the larger campus had crappy ones(I wasn’t really mad at him). That day I put him in charge of the graphics because he was far better at it.

It was after this experience that I began to see this quality over and over again. Corey was constantly forwarding me thoughts on improving our music, or games, or processes and even our curriculum. It would probably be fair to say that a large percentage of what he suggested didn’t happen, but much of our progress as an organization was a result of his constant drive toward improvement.

This is a great quality to look for in your staff. These kinds of people will constantly evaluate their own areas. They’re rarely content with the status quo and will push everyone forward. When you find this person, be sure to expand their responsibilities beyond just what they do. Invite them to larger conversations because the more they have the opportunity to learn about, the better it is for the entire ministry and church!