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If you are in ministry, you meet with people on a regular basis. Volunteers. Staff members. Parents. Other church leaders.
When you are meeting with someone individually who reports to you, there is something you should always do first in the meeting. Doing this one thing first will make the entire meeting a win.
Okay. Ready for the big reveal? Here it is.
Ask the person how they and their family are doing.
Great leaders always take a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting to ask about you and your family.
Before they dive into the "agenda points," they deepen their relationship with the person by asking key personal questions.
This shows the person that first and foremost, you care about them as a person.
We've all heard the statement, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
It is so true. Over the years, I've had hundreds of meetings with people I reported to. Looking back, the leaders who were the most effective in leading me had something in common. They took a personal interest in my family and me and started the meeting by asking how we were doing.
Very simply put, I believe the best way to lead people is through relationship. And one of the best ways to deepen a relationship is by showing the person you care more about them as a person, than about an agenda list. When you immediately jump into an agenda list without first asking the person how they are doing, you miss a key opportunity to lead the person at a new level.
On a practical side, when you meet with someone and ask about how they are personally doing, write down key things they tell you. This will give you a prayer list for the person and talking points for the next time you meet.
Here are some sample questions I like to ask people when I am meeting with them.
- How are you doing?
- How is your family? If they have children, take time to talk about how their children are doing.
- What's going well for you right now?
- What are you struggling with?
- What are you excited about personally right now?
- How can I pray for you and your family?
I promise you, if you'll start your meeting with these types of questions, the rest of the meeting will be much more effective and meaningful.
Remember this as well: People don't follow a title; they follow someone they love and respect.
If you have a 30-minute meeting with someone, spend the first five minutes talking about them.
Here's how to tell if you're doing this well. When people sit down to meet with you, which vibe becomes evident?
"Here I am" or "There you are."
If you are having rapid turnover on your team, it may be because you're not leading through relationship.
Agenda points on a meeting list are important. But what you do at the beginning of the meeting will determine how many of those agenda points get done.
It's also a great idea to take a few minutes to pray with the person at the end of the meeting. Start meetings with personal questions and end the meeting with personal prayer for the person's needs, and people will look forward to meeting with you.
Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 27 years. He is the director of children's ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in south Florida. Christ Fellowship has nine campuses and ministers to over 25,000 people on weekends. Dale leads a children's ministry staff team of over 70 and a volunteer team of over 2,600. He has authored 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children's Ministry, 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Preschool Ministry, Children's Ministry in the 21st Century, Sunday School That Works, the churchleaders.com Top 100 book, and If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry. You can find more of his helpful resources at relevantchildrensministry.com or buildingchildrensministry.com.
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