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1. DEFINE what it means to be relational for your ministry

You can’t be strategic without defining the win. How do you know if your ministry is relational or not? You can’t answer that question without a definition of relational ministry.

This step also makes it possible for you to empower your leaders. You can say, “be relational!” But if you don’t tell them what that means, they will resort to what “relationships” means for them.

In the past, I’ve wanted every student to be accepted for who they are (no judgment), belong (feel like they are a part of something) and cared for (in the high’s and low’s of life.)

This was cute because it was as simple as ABC and my leaders could remember it.

Biblically, there are lots of examples of “relational ministry.” I like this scripture from Paul…he made a deep connection with this church in under three weeks: “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)


6. Never again say, “I’M BAD AT NAMES.”

Stop making excuses because it reinforces weak behavior. At the time of writing this, I’m only 45. I’ve only met one person who’s great at remembering names. I’m not going to lie: it was wondrous to behold. He could have a three-minute conversation with someone and remember their name ten years later. Most of us are “mere mortals” when it comes to remembering names. That’s ok. Do whatever it takes to learn a name. Carry a 3×5 note card and a pen, and once the conversation is over, make a note. (At a church event, I wouldn’t use my phone…since everyone is on their phone too much.) Here’s the point: When you make excuses, you give yourself permission to fail. Instead, do something to get better.



Words are powerful. You’ve experienced this in your life. Build a more profound connection through encouragement. Catch them in the act of doing something good and affirm them. Talk about the positive changes they make and where God seems to be working in their lives. Speak to the deeper things in their character. It’s nice to say, “that’s a cool jacket.” It’s uplifting to say, “You were kind last week when you greeted that visitor to our ministry.”

Words are powerful, but they can also be cheap when we lack integrity or thoughtfulness. Make the extra effort to speak with authenticity.