How “Go with the Flow” can positively impact your ministry

Planning and scheduling is so important in ministry. Without planning you can’t possibly maximize your strategy. In fact, without planning or scheduling, I would venture to say you aren’t being strategic in your ministry. However, despite the strategy that comes from planning and scheduling, it possible that going with the flow can be just as impacting to your ministry.

How is that? How can randomness impact just as much as strategy? First you have to understand what “go with the flow”

Go with the flow means more than just being flexible and not held to a schedule or plan. Of course, that is part of it. But it is also a mindset. Sometimes we can be so ridged and hold tight to a schedule and plan that when something unexpectedness happens or the slightest change needs to be done we resist and fight that rather than just going with the flow of things.

However, going with the flow is NOT an excuse to prepare and plan. You still need to plan ahead and schedule as you normally do. Going with the flow as an excuse for unpreparedness is NOT ok. Going with the flow happens when something unpredictable or unplanned happens that you have to adjust for. Planning and preparing should always be happening and if that isn’t then that is on you.

So how do you “go with the flow” and how can it positively impact your ministry? Here are a few ways:

  1. You are less rigid and are able to make changes on the fly. Sometimes we can be so scheduled oriented that we don’t give room or space for the unexpected to happen. Or, it can prevent us from making a change that needs to be made if something doesn’t go well. For instance, if you are planning an event or meeting expecting 50 students to come, yet only 5-10 show up, it might be best to make some changes to what you are doing. Just because you schedule an event or meeting a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way, especially when less people come out. 5-10 students may have a better experience doing an impromptu pizza or ice cream party than participating in an event that was better suited for 50 people.
  2. You allow the Holy Spirit to move. I don’t want to overspiritualize things but when you loosen the reigns and go in with the mindset that God may have bigger and better plans for tonight, it creates a sense of freedom. When something unexpected happens, if we have the mindset of going with the flow then we allow God and the Holy Spirit to led what happens, not us. If we have a tight grip on the schedule and not let things happen, we might be preventing Christ from moving in a powerful way.
  3. You create memories. Some of my favorite memories to share with others is when our leadership team had to go with flow and create or change something on the fly. Some of them are really funny and some of them have been life-altering as well…not just for our leadership team but for students and those we are ministering to as well.


When you go with the flow, you have a mindset that you aren’t tied to anything and can make changes as needed, when needed. Leadership Teams I have been apart of plan out our events, yet also give us the flexibility that when something unexpected happens, we roll with it and enjoy the moment, trying to make it the best for the students. I hope you can incorporate this kind of mindset as well as it can lead to some very powerful moments in the lives of your team but also in the lives of students. Moments that can lead to life change.

What do you think? How have you gone with the flow in the past and how has it positively impacted your ministry?  Share your stories and experiences below or on social media using #ymsidekick when you share.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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