Our Church's 3 Strategies for Constantly Improving

Our Church's 3 Strategies for Constantly Improving

Aaron Buer

Digital giving apps and tools

This past weekend, I had an interesting conversation with an attender from our church after one of our services.

I happened to be hosting the service, which in our context means welcoming the congregation, praying, leading the offering, sharing announcements and wrapping things up after the sermon. After the service concluded, he approached me and said,

“You are so natural up there. Is this something that comes easy for you?”

When he said this, I laughed. Why? Well, because the first time I hosted one of our services, I climbed the stairs onto the stage, looked out at the crowd and froze. My mind literally went blank. As in, there was nothing in my brain. Nothing. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to say, what my name is, or what church I was standing in. Nothing. And that’s when I really started to sweat.

Yeah, I bombed. It was so bad that after mumbling through a welcome, I blurted out “And that’s all I can remember so I’m going to sit down.”

That’s when the pastor who was preaching that night leaned over to me and said “I’ll take it from here.”

I didn’t even get to finish the service.


So, the answer is “NO!” It isn’t easy and no it didn’t come naturally.

That story is from about six years ago. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m some Andy Stanley or anything but I can now confidently host a service and, later, that pastor even allowed me to preach from that same stage. Proud moment.

How did I move from my initial failure to adequately performing the job? Well, that’s what I’d like to share with you because I think my growth in this area translates to growing in any sort of ministry skill. So, whether you’re attempting to grow as a worship leader, a preacher, a manager or a counselor, I think it really comes down to three strategies.

1. Watch the Pros

The most important factor in my improvement as a communicator has been watching a pro. My senior pastor is a master preacher. Over the last few years, I’ve watched him very closely. In other words, I’ve been carefully observing what it is that he does in preparation and delivery that makes him so good. I’ve learned that he has a system and that he regularly employs specific tools. I think of it as a type of apprenticeship.

So, if you want to improve in a ministry skill, find a pro and watch what they do. I think it’s helpful to not just watch them once, but to watch them over and over because at time progresses, you’ll pick up the nuances of what makes that person a master.

One word of advice. If you're watching someone in person, you may want to let the person know that you’ll be watching them. I’d hate for that person to get creeped out. Hey, I’m just looking out for your reputation!

2. Get At-Bats

I’m a big baseball fan. There’s a statistic that’s recorded in baseball, and if you’re a fan, you’ve probably heard this term before. It’s called an “at-bat.” An at-bat is recorded each time a hitter comes to the plate (unless he gets walked or beaned — we can talk about that another time). Most players get 3 to 5 at-bats in a game and a starting player gets a few hundred at-bats over the course of a season.


The more at-bats a player gets the more comfortable that player becomes. Eventually that player can recognize certain pitches and know how to adjust. Eventually, just about every situation that player finds himself in will be familiar. He becomes more and more comfortable with each at-bat.

Typically, a rookie player, facing his first major league pitcher will look like a complete fool as a 95 mph fastball rockets past him. Why? Because it’s his first at-bat. Everything about the experience from the stadium, to the uniform, to the pitch itself is brand new. A few hundred at-bats later and that player is much more likely to send that fastball over the leftfield wall.

The reason I bring this up is to point out that looking back on my hosting fail, I’m not surprised that I bombed. It was my first at-bat. Everything was brand new... and scary, I might add! But every at-bat since then has become more and more comfortable.

It could be that your journey from rookie preacher or worship leader to master preacher or worship leader is just a matter of getting more at-bats. If you feel called to your role, my advice would be to embrace every opportunity presented to you to get another at-bat. Over time, you will become more and more comfortable.

A quick word to those of us who are in leadership positions where we need to develop younger or new talent. That person we need to develop will never become as skilled as we are unless we give them some at-bats.

3. Ask for Feedback

The third factor in my growth as a communicator has been feedback. We have what we like to call a “high feedback culture” in our church. In other words, you’ll always know where you stand — what you’re doing well as well as your growth areas.


Depending on your temperament, this may sound terrifying or exhilarating. I assure you that with enough trust and relationship, it is a beautiful thing.

What I know for sure is that feedback has made me a better communicator. When I am hosting a service, my senior pastor will often say to me between services:

“Can I give you a line?”

Which means:

“Be brave because he’s about to tell you a better way to say what you said.”

Receiving feedback requires humility. It requires acknowledging that I’m not perfect. It also requires a strong sense of identity, not in what I do but in who I am in Christ. When I am grounded in my identity as God’s Son, I am able to receive feedback, even harsh feedback, without internalizing it.

For example, a few months ago, one of our staff members let me know that when I’m speaking on the stage I have a lot of nervous energy. To be specific, I do this weird shoulder shimmy type thing. As you can imagine, I LOVED hearing this.

But, what I was doing was distracting. My co-worker cared enough about me and also about the work we do that he carefully told me about my nervous movements. Because of this feedback, I went back and watched video of myself on stage and sure enough, I do weird things!

Thankfully, I’ve been able to correct this. At least, I think. Maybe you should check out a video and see if you notice anything.

My point is that regular feedback has made me a better communicator and I’m convinced that if you invite people to give you feedback on whatever skill you’re trying to get better at, you will improve, as long as you exercise the humility required to receive the feedback and act on it.

Take Action

Let’s wrap this up. If you are seeking to improve in a ministry skill, be encouraged! There are simple ways to grow.

  • Identify a pro and learn from that person
  • Seek more at-bats. Ask for more opportunities so that you can get more comfortable
  • Invite feedback and act on it

If this feels intimidating, just pick one and run with it. And if you have any of your own strategies for consistently improving the skills God has given you, I'd love to hear them. Just leave them in the comments below.

Share this Article:

Looking for easy-to-use software to help manage your church?

We'd love to show you what we built!

Join 10,000+ happy churches using Breeze ChMS™.

loves Breeze

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

loves Breeze

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

loves Breeze

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

David P.
loves Breeze
St. Pauls United Methodist Church

Breeze has been incredible. Their customer service, commitment to innovation, and their product are top-notch. I love the features, the ease of use and the mobile applications.

Karen M.
loves Breeze
Hillcrest Church

All of our database needs have been more than met, it's easier to use than the last database we had, and the price is amazing - what a value this has been to our church! All of our staff can use this software and they do regularly. We use it to track…literally anything a church could possibly need to track regarding it's attenders.

Chris K.
loves Breeze
Crossroads United Methodist Church

Breeze has been a great asset to our church and congregation. Especially from an administrative standpoint, it has been the most adaptable and easiest church database I have ever used. The features from blast emails to giving on-line, and texting have been one of our greatest assets. Thank you!

Ed R.
loves Breeze
Church Admin

We switched from a major, web-based ChMS to Breeze and our decision is confirmed every day. We are a medium size church and we use Breeze for contributions, member management, event checkin and a few other applications custom to our church. I had trouble getting any staff to use our previous ChMS but almost all staff are using Breeze. The product is very well designed, extremely easy to learn and use and customer service is incredible.

Ellen G.
loves Breeze
Grace Church

Breeze has opened the communication highway for our congregation and staff, with very little training. Because members can update their own records and search easily for other members - and map their locations, send emails and text right from Breeze, they love it and our data is more real-time accurate. Our ministries are stronger, because they can trust the data in Breeze, which is easily accessed anywhere, anytime.

Steve H.
loves Breeze
First Presbyterian Church of Ramsey

Breeze is the first ChMS my volunteers have actually embraced. That's because it's so easy to use. The software is very flexible and gives us the opportunity to make decisions based on actual data we've collected and not just hunches or stories we believe to be true.

Allicia B.
loves Breeze
Ellel Ministries Canada

I cannot say enough about Breeze. Their customer service is so friendly, you feel like you have friends and family helping you get started, they're prompt to reply and will do whatever they can to help you get things sorted out. It's been so easy to learn, our staff is loving it and best of all even our staff who are not computer savvy find it a breeze (pun intended). We are just thrilled by our choice.

Kevin D.
loves Breeze
Central Baptist Church

From the start of our process looking for an online solution, Breeze has exceeded all our expectations. Fast data import, fast and friendly customer support, and we can’t say enough about how much we like the program itself. Very well designed and user friendly. On a scale of 1-10, Breeze gets a 15 from us!

Rated 4.9 stars – 480+ reviews on Capterra