When directing a cm that had a director before you – how to focus on quality not quantity

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that had a CM director before me. How do I evaluate the current CM programs, and focus on ‘quality,’ not ‘quantity’?”

The Issues:

Evaluating current programs honestly will present you with a “sea” of political challenges. You may face “traditional challenges” from people who say, “We’ve always done it that way,” or “People look forward to this program all year.” You may face “personal challenges” from CM team members who say, “This program is my ministry, if you take it away, I’ll have to leave the ministry.”  Adjusting the CM programs to align with the CM vision is not easy, but it is ultimately rewarding.

Scripture Foundation:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:1 

Short Answer:

On the outside, it is possible to view every CM program as “good.”  You’ll see happy children being organized and taught. You’ll see happy parents or grandparents dropping off and picking up their children. You’ll see friendly interaction between the children and the CM team members.  None of this is not good!

When you are evaluating programs, you need consistent criteria on which to base your analysis.  That consistent evaluation “tool” is the CM vision! The CM vision should focus every program, and it should also present some limitations on what programs “work” or don’t “work.”  The CM vision shouldn’t be so vague that it doesn’t provide direction and focus for the programs.  An example of a CM vision that is too vague or broad is, “We will teach the children about Jesus.”  That vision statement is obviously true, but it doesn’t lend you any guidance regarding CM programs. A CM vision that expresses WHAT you want to accomplish, and HOW you will accomplish it will guide your evaluation of the CM programs. Some examples of good CM vision statements are:

–“The (name of church) children’s ministry exists to create a desire for a personal relationship with God in the lives of children through stimulating programs, life-changing mentors, and spiritually strong parents.”

–“(name of church) children’s ministry – drawing children to God, leading them to fruitfulness!”

–“(name of church) children’s ministry – changing their lives, changing their world.”

When evaluating the CM programs, ask these questions: Does it further the ministry vision? Does it satisfy the FRESH components? (Family-friendly, Relationship-driven, Experience-rich, Spiritually-based, Help-oriented) Is it “fruitful”? Has it “seen its day”? Does it need to be retired? If you find a program that isn’t as “FRESH” as you would like it to be, ask yourself these questions: Does it need to be improved or re-launched? Can it produce “offshoot” programs? Finding the answers to these questions may take significant time praying for God’s guidance, observing the programs, interviewing those who currently serve in the programs, and using what you have discovered in light of the vision God has given you.

Don’t let yourself be swayed by “traditions” or the personal opinions of others if those influences go against what you feel God wants you to do.  If a program currently doesn’t “fit” the CM vision, can it be refurbished and kept, or should it be retired?  If you retire a program, make sure to celebrate those who have served in the program. This celebration can be done, if possible, in an all-team meeting in which you announce the changes to the CM programming.  In your evaluation of the CM programs, remember that programs are operated by people! If you must adjust or retire a program, be very kind and respectful of the people who have served in the program.  They have prayed for the program and the children!  They have worked on the supplies (maybe paid for the supplies out of their own pockets). They have “wrestled” with the lesson presentation and the children who were hard to keep interested. They have given their all for an hour or so and gone home to rest afterward.  It is the people who may feel “hurt”  if you retire a program!  It is the people who may resist the changes you make to a program.  These people are God’s children!  Ask God to give you a deep understanding and compassion for them! For more help, click on the links below.

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