Pre-habilitation is a form of strength training designed to prevent injuries BEFORE they occur. However, this term can be effectively used in your personal life, family, employment, business, and church. Pre-habilitation defined: “It is the management style of incorporating proactive and preventative measures or actions designed to prevent mistakes, delays, deficiencies, and the development of unwanted business culture BEFORE they occur.”
Those of us involved in ministry, whether full-time or part-time, want our ministries to be both exemplary and effective. We must balance the following discussion with this disclaimer…People will get mad, and it is impossible to please everybody. To that end, let’s examine the elements of pre-habilitation as it applies to your church or ministry by asking a few thought-invoking questions:
- If you could prevent some of the church/ministry splits that happen so frequently in America’s church, would that appeal to you?
- If you could promote an environment of consistency and integrity in your church/ministry, would you do it?
- If you could reduce staff turnover and promote staff loyalty, would that interest you?
I know the answer to each of these questions is a resounding YES!
The solution to preventing, avoiding, and escaping the aforementioned conditions, lies foundationally in the concept of pre-habilitation. Let’s pre-habilitate your church/ministry! We may not be able to avoid the ‘current’, but we can pre-habilitate our future to a great extent. Let’s ‘pre-habilitate’ questions 1-3 in order:
- Pre-habilitating the frequent church splits can be a bit complicated. The complicated segment is dealing with the complexity of people. The answer, however, is found in two basic principles: A. Don’t spend too much time dealing with disgruntled people. People will get mad – it is just the nature of ministry. You will have opposition. However, it you spend too much time trying to convince the disgruntled few, you will lose the content and happy majority. B. If people want to leave, LET THEM LEAVE. They most likely left some other place to grace you with their presence. Be nice, polite, consistent, and loving, but AT THE SAME TIME, let them leave if they choose.
- Pre-habilitating a consistent and integral environment begins with practicing that in your own area of greatest influence. Teach people what to expect in your home and inner circles by modeling consistency and predictability. Don’t be scattered and lack schedule. If you do, it will invariably show up very pronounced in your public ministry. Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner. If you blow people off by using the old “I am too busy in ministry” excuse, you will lose people. Listen, ministry is about example more than words. If you are too busy to get back with someone in 48 hours, have someone (maybe an administrative assistant) touch base with those trying to reach you. Believe me, this practice alone will pay huge dividends towards forming a strong foundational and consistent environment.
- Pre-habilitating staff turnover and promoting staff loyalty is very similar to number 1 and 2 (directly above). However, just realize you are MUCH closer to this group (meaning they know YOU better and that makes you much more vulnerable). Protect integrity with this group. DO NOT act flaky with them. Promote and acknowledge often the behavior you want repeated. Be consistent with your expectations. If they begin to act disgruntled, confront it with love immediately. Don’t let it sit and fester because it will spread. If a staff member wants to leave, help them leave. That’s right, help them leave! Maybe God is calling them elsewhere. Allow God to have His way as you lead your staff.
There you have it. We have utilized pre-habilitation as a management style in your church/ministry to prevent some of the most dreaded consequences.
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