You’re a project manager at your church. You’re expected to carry all the details, communicate all the things, keep all the notes, update all the people, make all the charts/reports/proposals-- all on time, on budget, and all with grace. You’re juggling not only details but people and moving parts.
Take heart my friend. You are both a BTS superhero and a project pastor because the best part of our job is that our projects matter. Even the most minute details play a part in presenting Jesus to the world.
Our project management team put together a list of 50 tips of what we have learned and what we hope helps you and your career+ministry.
Write down everything. Don’t expect to remember it.
Make it a point to follow up after an event. You look kinder and you’ll make more friends.
Task management program (we like Asana)
Use bullet points. NO ONE will read paragraphs.
Always set a deadline. No one will do something they don’t HAVE to.
Watch your tone of voice. Your attitude can affect your project.
Send post-meeting recap emails. Paper trail reminders of what you talked about and agreed upon in person.
Make it a point to meet the people you always email.
Say sorry when you mess up. Own it and send a gift.
Err to the side of over clarification.
Haven’t heard anything in a while? Ask for an update.
Give an update before your boss asks you for an update. Always know the status of your project.
Ask for help before you NEED it.
Details lie with you. Disseminate information before it bottlenecks.
Have grace. A lot of deadlines and responsibility lies on you, but don’t forget that we’re all human. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Your project may be your baby, but it’s not necessarily everyone else’s—give time for your designers to work on it.
When your team kills it, bring coffee.
When your team doesn’t kill it, bring chocolate.
There are times when your project will make you cry. It’s ok. You’re carrying a lot.
Allow yourself time to get tasks done. You’re human and things take time. Don’t overcommit yourself and your team to something.
Pray. Remembering to genuinely cover your projects, your people, and your church may be the hardest thing to remember.
Write down to pray. You’ll forget.
Know your supervisor’s calendar.
Look for ways to lighten your supervisor’s load.
Bring the enthusiasm for your project. If you’re bummed about it, your team probably will be, too.
Say thank you.
Just because it’s on a list doesn’t mean it’s getting done. Make sure things are clearly assigned.
We’re in ministry. Check your heart.
Respect your leadership; they have more details to take care of than you do.
When comparison creeps in, remember that you have twice as much to grow in than your leader does.
Make sure your team has all the details they need to get their tasks done.
It’s not your job to know all the answers, IT’S YOUR JOB TO GET ANSWERS (and give them to the appropriate people). If someone isn’t replying to your emails/texts/phone calls, keep it up. Hounding people for answers is biblical. (Luke 18)
Don’t forget that the project or event you’re working on will probably bring people to Jesus.
Make sure you’re celebrating other project managers. Create a culture of camaraderie and support. You know how it feels to do a lot behind the scenes.
Make sure your teammates are doing well. They’re people, too.
Take an ice cream break when you’ve had a tough day. Better yet, bring along your coworkers who have also had a bad day.
Practice, train, practice. Be trained by someone else who is better than you. Going from a task master to a good project manager takes work+time.
Be both Chris Traeger and Ben Wyatt at the same time. (If you can’t be both, find your compliment and work together.)
Boomerang for Gmail. Check it out.
If your supervisor asks you a question, answer promptly.
Respond to emails and texts within 24 hours. (Even if it’s an “I’ll get back to you later with an answer.”)
Be willing to change your systems when it doesn’t work anymore.
Ask for feedback. Be open to failing and being wrong. Even if it hurts a little bit.
Email us if you have any questions or want to chat about being a project manager: email@example.com.