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Perception is a powerful thing.  Everyone has a bunch of perceptions that order their world. And, everyone has a bunch about you and your ministry that may order your world.  So play to it.

In other words; the vast majority of people in your church have a perception about you and your ministry based on what they experience with you and your ministry… That means that they experience the weekend with you and your ministry.

What they see and experience on the weekend is typically their perception of what the rest of your world is like. That can be a good thing or a bad thing.

The good thing is that if you pull off a successful time of ministry their perception of you and your ministry is that you are successful for the most part and that you have stuff together and are moving forward.  Don’t let them make you a liar!  If you pull off a successful time of ministry and their perception of you and your ministry reflects the same, make sure the rest of your time, during the week, is as quality as it can be.

But this also means that there are less opportunities for what I like to call the “Compensation Factor”. This factor is when you have had a great week: You and your team have planned, strategized, worked hard and have had a successful week.  Now comes the weekend.  If one of your team members makes a mistake, shows up late or forgets something… you as a leader use the “Compensation Factor”. You say to yourself: “Sure they were late, but they worked hard this past week and they’re hardly ever late.  No harm done, let’s just keep going!” You compensate.

Unfortunately, the average church-goer-parent-type-person wasn’t there for the previous week.  They didn’t see the hard work this team member did or the extra effort made.  They only know what they see over the weekend. Therefore, they cannot compensate. Suddenly, there is a perception created that this is how it always is.

So, how do you play to other people’s perceptions? How do you build better perceptions in others? The answer: Just be perfect all of the time. Easy enough, right?

There is only one thing that creates a stronger “Compensations Factor” then seeing the hard work earlier in the week.  RELATIONSHIPS.

If you and your team are creating relationships with the parents in your church, there will be the perception that you and your team are personable, relational and pastoral. But don’t let it stop at a perception – Don’t let them make you a liar… make it who you really are!  Relationships are powerful. When someone has a relationship with you and they know that you care; if there is a mistake, an oversight or a transgression in your ministry, they can compensate with: “but, they care – and I know it”.

By no means does this give you license to let your ministry fall all over the place. Always do your best. Plan on having successful times of ministry.  Because those days will come when everything falls apart in a comedy of errors. It’s in those times that it’s nice to have relationships with the people around you to help you get back on track and pull it all back together.

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An amazing thing happened to me after church on Sunday.  My Pastor passed me in the office hallway and said something to the effect of:

“I saw you in there today with the kids.  You do a great job. I wish I could get up there more often to see you do your thing.  Thank you!”

There was some more small-talk and then off we went our separate ways for the day.

So, why was this an amazing thing?  Here’s why:  Most Sunday’s, I go home feeling like a thousand feet tall because the “Sunday morning kids ministry” is my element!  I thrive in that element and am at my best.  I’m not bragging here, just telling you what makes me tick and what I’m passionate about.  This past Sunday, however, I went home feeling like I was a thousand feet tall AND walking on clouds.  Why?  Well, one reason is that Karl Bastian showed up, snapped a bunch of pics and posted them along with like, 20 tweets braggin’ up my church’s facilities… but beyond that – it’s simple really:

My Pastor invested in me for 30 seconds and let me know he noticed me.

Why is this amazing?  It’s amazing in the fact that it shouldn’t be amazing.  But the fact that it happened when it’s not the norm in churches, grabs my attention.  (Am I making sense here?) Please be aware that my Pastor is very good at paying compliments and notices his whole staff.  But, it’s not the case with every Pastor in every church.

I personally know of Pastors that pay compliments from the platform but never really say it to staff member’s faces – “church politics”.  Places where staff feel as if they were never noticed, just tolerated.  At a seminar, an older Pastor stated during his session that he was already paying his staff, so they didn’t need compliments and “thank you’s” for doing what they were expected to do anyway.  I still love these guys… but, they all have one thing in common: They go through a lot of staff members.

Pastor, if you’re out there and you’re reading this… Here’s the challenge:

  • Notice your staff this week.
  • Stop and talk to them for 30 seconds.
  • Tell them when they’re doing a good job.
  • Say some “thank you’s” – When is the last time you sent a thank you card to a staff member?
  • Pay them a few compliments

Trust me, you’ll see a difference in the loyalties and the attitudes.

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