Foundational articles to read with your team as you start the year

August 15, 2011 — 4 Comments

I love reading articles together as a staff team. There are few better ways to align your team and learn to speak the same language.

They’re short and to the point (at least the good ones are!).

And the articles can be the bad guy- they can speak authoritatively on a topic and staff don’t hear “my director is trying to get us to _____ (share our faith more, do more work)” they hear “that author who is infinitely wise is saying that we should ______”.

Whether your senior staff are reading these ideas for the 10th time or it’s a new staff reading it for the first, foundational ideas need to be over-communicated repeatedly.

It doesn’t always have to be articles, I’ll often print up a bog post (even my own!) to read with our team.

Here are some of the staple articles that have shaped our team (and that we’ll likely be reading this fall):

  • The First Two Weeks– our team reads this every year in preparing for the fall. Really short and to the point. Sets your team’s expectations for the first weeks (16 hour work days!):
    • Gathering Christians, reaching non-Christians…or both?
    • What to do on appointments
    • What to do with returning students
  • Building Movements this article has shaped our movement more than any other. Jim Sylvester shares his considerable wisdom in what it takes to build a thriving movement.
  • Going from 20 to 200 – a shorter and easier to read version of Jim’s principles. 5 principles to grow a small ministry into a thriving movement. This one might be better to read with your team or students than Jim’s.
  • Hearing the Music Of the Gospel – a longer article but so good. Are you carried along by the rhythm of God’s Spirit through his Word or doing the mechanical dance steps of behavioral change? This is a good one to have your team read over an hour of time with God and then come back and discuss as a team.
  • Empowering Staff thru Staff Jobs– great wisdom from Eric Swanson on empowering staff to lead as directors. This fall we just quoted from this article and used the ideas as we communicated to our team on staff jobs – but a great read for team leaders.
    • “Each job is “director level” in that the other staff are subordinate to him or her in this area.”
    • “Each job is “owned” by the staff in charge and is autonomous in its responsibility. If the staff does not carry it out or motivate others to do so, it simply doesn’t get done. No one bails him or her out.”
    • Each staff is expected to be an “expert” in his/her job. He needs to read books, articles, magazines, listen to talks, and interact with other staff from other campus to develop expertise. He or she becomes a resource for the other staff in their area of expertise. You and the other staff may be purposefully ignorant: “I don’t know, but Rabs is the expert in that area.”

What are some of your favorite articles?

timcasteel

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  • Matthew Mccomas

    We read and discuss articles all the time. It teaches us how to think critically about what we’re doing and aligns our hearts to some key ministry philosophy.

    The first 4 are high on my list for ministry development and I’ll definitely check out the last one…that’s new to me. A few others we have read at various times are Reaching Freshmen, Sending Seniors and then there is a lesser known Pond Progression article that’s floating around out there written a few years back by a staff guy at Washington State.

    • Anonymous

      if you get a chance, send me that Pond Progression article

  • Sam Harper

    Hi Tim,

    The First Two Weeks link is no longer available on Cru’s website. Do you have it elsewhere?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • timcasteel

      Thanks for the heads up! I fixed it.