In just a short time we’ll be welcoming our new baby. Here are a few steps I’m taking to get our ministry ready for my time away from the office.
If you’ve had a similar experience, we would love to hear how you got ready. Leave a comment below to share your story with other readers.
1. Identify everything that needs to be done before you go and while you are out. Make a list. Well, probably lots of lists. List everything that you can do to make the time you are out easier on everyone. What do you need to make sure won’t fall through the cracks? Do you need to prep curriculum? Music? Volunteer schedules?
2. Pretend that you will be out two weeks earlier and two weeks longer than you really think you will. Babies are unpredictable. It is so much better to be over-prepared than caught off guard. And, honestly, when you come back from maternity leave your brain is still going to be pretty fuzzy. The more you can do ahead of time, the greater gift you are giving yourself when you return.
3. Duplicate yourself. If you have been doing areas of ministry alone, this is the perfect time to stop. And you have 9 months or so to do it! Identify everything that you do and everything that is only in your brain. Start giving those pieces away. Take the time to train other people to do your weekly tasks. And don’t view it as simply training them enough to get by while you are gone. View this as a new stage in your ministry when you are equipping others to do the work of the church! Spend this time investing in a team! The best compliment you can receive when you come back is that the ministry never missed a beat. If they missed you, but didn’t need you, you have led well!
4. Identify how “off” you want to be. Make your desires about your availability very clear to your pastor, your staff, and your volunteers. Should they call you when problems arise? How in the loop do you want to be? I would guess that you, like most people in kidmin, are highly driven and the thought of being “out” of ministry for several weeks makes you pretty nervous. Allow me to gently remind you that you will have lots of weeks to do ministry. The first weeks of your little one’s life only happen one time. Do not sacrifice them to the church. Set your boundaries and focus on your little one.
5. Be comfortable in your after-maternity-leave plan. Invest time now in figuring out what work looks like for you after baby comes. Determine schedules, plans, etc… as much as you can now. There will be plenty of stress later on!