Are We Making Ministry Too Complicated?

Over the last couple of months, our volunteer coordinator for catechetical ministry shared feedback from her sessions with our children's volunteers. The conversations were positive, but the feedback that resonated the most was that we were providing too much content for each small group session. I used to believe that more was better, but I now understand that there can be too much.

As I reviewed the content we shared over the last year, they were right. We had given them too many options and not enough clarity about how to run the groups and what success looked like. To be honest, not only is our content a little complicated, but our expectations can be too.

If you find that people are not connecting with the flow of your ministry and your objectives, then you need to focus on communication. To communicate effectively, you need to:


When you have your head down and are constantly grinding, it's easy to lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish. We often recognize these moments with the question, "Why am I doing this?" If volunteers, parents, teens, or parishioners struggle to grasp your vision, you have to wonder if you know what you want.

Brené Brown in Dare to Lead says, "Paint done." In other words, take the time to describe every detail of what it looks like when people execute the plan or live out the vision. At Marathon Youth Ministry, we lead others through narrative exercises where they write about the ultimate outcome (Set up a free coaching session with us HERE). When you lead others, you need to help them see what success or a win will look like, but it starts with you embracing that vision first.


Your vision will stick when others are tired of hearing about it. How often do you talk to others about the vision, mission, values, and strategy behind your ministry? If I were to walk into your parish or organization and ask someone, "Why does this ministry exist?" would they be able to answer accurately?

If you want teens and families to get on board and your team to take initiative, they need to know and embrace why your ministry exists. To make that happen, ensure your vision, mission, and values are everywhere. Spend time at team meetings and gatherings discussing how you will work together to make them possible. Pray as a group over the vision and mission. Invite God into the process and don't worry about overcommunicating because it won't happen.

You'll also want them to share the vision and mission with others. Show them how to use it as a recruiting tool and a way to gain support. Don't be the only one holding onto the vision; otherwise, you are robbing others of experiencing God's joy through the ministry.


There are times when we try to do too much. While we need to communicate more, what we communicate about has to be fine-tuned and focused. One of the biggest issues parishes and their ministries face is trying to do too much. Whether it's the components of a small group session or the events planned for the year, less is more.

When it comes to your volunteers, you might want to give them options and more than enough material to work with, but the reality is it can be hard to discern what is most important. When it comes to teens and adults in the parish, you might want to try to reach everyone, but your energy is limited, and doing too much will stretch resources too thin.

Not only is less more, but doing the right things matters the most. When it comes to communication, it's easier to talk about a few things than to cover everything. The hard part is deciding what to cut, and that's when you need to talk with your team, your parish, and go back to your why. When you know what's most important, it's easier to get behind it.

Don't complicate your ministry by slowing things down to determine your why; help others understand it and focus on what matters most. When you can simplify your ministry, you can rally people together and create the momentum needed to build engagement.

In what ways is your ministry simple? In what ways is your ministry complicated? What are you doing to simplify what you do?


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