The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Ministry Leaders

Bruce Baumann is the Director of Faith Formation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, TX. He received his Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and has been involved in professional youth ministry for 20+ years. Bruce is a certified catechetical instructor in the Dallas Diocese and a Life Coach for the Living Your Strengths movement. He is passionate about training ministry leaders and has had the joy of presenting workshops and retreats at conferences and parishes around the country.

Have you ever planned a youth ministry event for 30 and only 3 show up? You spent days picking out a theme, sorting through topics, coming up with the perfect activities, picking up the snacks and decorating your space. 7:00 p.m. is the start time and by 6:50, you are getting nervous as you glance outside to see an empty parking lot. Five minutes later, a teen gets dropped off and it is confirmation that you advertised the correct day, but also confirmation that despite your best efforts, it is not looking good. At 7:05, a pair of siblings pulls up and that completes your attendance for the evening. The good news is that you do not need to break off into small groups. The bad news is that you do not need to break off into small groups.

Almost every single youth minister I have ever known (Protestant or Catholic) has had experiences similar to this. It can be very discouraging and for some the tipping point to giving up all together. For your sake and the sake of precious teen souls, please do not give up without a fight. Take heart! There is hope! It can all start with 7 simple habits.

Habits are not sexy, exciting or glamorous, but when embraced on a consistent basis they can be incredibly powerful. They carry us even when we do not have the inspiration or motivation to do the right thing. Habits are fueled by their inherent momentum and trajectory.

Almost every single person that I have worked with in ministry wants to be effective. We usually don’t do this for the money or fame . Deep down, we want to make a difference – to have an impact in Building the Kingdom!

A few years ago, I reflected on what I thought were essential ingredients to ministry effectiveness. Since that time, I have given several workshops and retreats centered on these 7 habits. This is what I see as the core of ministry success. If you can do these 7 habits well, you will have a firm foundation with which to work. Each week, we will cover one of the habits. Please check back here next week as we begin our journey into the 7 habits of highly effective ministry leaders!