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Resources, Tips and Content for Children's Ministry and Family Life Leaders

Better Before Bigger

It should always be our goal to get better. After all, we work for the God of the universe who is creative and loves excellence. In fact, our efforts are just another way to honor Him, offer praise and glorify His Name. Becoming “Bigger” does not have to be the goal of our efforts, but according to the Bible, it tends to be a natural result for those who are faithful with what has been entrusted to them. (Matthew 25:14-28, The Parable of the Talents)

In their first season of real serious competition, Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, challenged his staff, stating, “If we get better, our customers will demand that we get bigger.” This became the organization’s new strategy allowing them to beat out the competition and increase their sales numbers significantly.

Andy Stanley, in his May podcast, challenges leaders to adopt the same attitude and believe that there’s always room for continual improvement, but he warns that this can only come through clarification and evaluation. He calls this concept Better Before Bigger and requires those within his organization to ask themselves, “What am I doing personally to make ministry better?”

The bummer is that the longer we are inside an organization, the more muddled our view becomes. Problems that once plagued us, simply disappear from view even though they still exist. Issues that need to be addressed sometimes feel too personal because of our prior investment and we find ourselves struggling to accept true assessment from others. So how do we work through the fog of our own organizations, find clarity, gain true assessment and work toward becoming the best we can be?

The steps to Better Before Bigger begin with being able to define what it is you actually want to do and being able to measure how close you are to the desired goal.

  • You can’t get better until you can define what success looks like—CLARIFICATION.
  • You can’t get better until you can measure where you are succeeding and where you are failing—EVALUATION.

So how do you do this? The best evaluation tool is the one you create. It starts with deciding exactly what success looks like and writing it down as a measurable statement. Andy Stanley calls this “Defining the Win.” Next, you evaluate yourself according to the specifics of that statement and then start working to improve.

If you don’t have time to create your own evaluation, or you need a sample to know where to begin, feel free to download the Family Life Assessment form from the “give-aways” section of the website.

Consider including your staff and core volunteers in the process. It’s usually best to work with many minds: insiders, customers and newbies. In Family Life, this means staff and volunteers, parents and kids and guests. Accept every comment as valuable and work diligently to fully assess statements that seem especially critical and personal. At times, evaluation can be hard on the ego, but if you want to get better, you’ve got to be willing to see things as they really are.

When you’re done evaluating…

  • Be sure to stop and celebrate the things you are doing well,
  • Drop the things you don’t really care about, and
  • Write SMART Goals for the things you want to do better.

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