Have you ever considered why your church does the ministries they do? What is the real “why” behind them? If the answer is because we have always done it or them, it might be time to take a deeper look!
While the pandemic has given us much to be concerned about, it has also provided much opportunity. For the church, one of the many opportunities the pandemic has provided is the chance to take a long look at how we are investing our resources (time, energy, people, dollars, facility, etc.) and the effectiveness of those resource investments. If we have learned nothing else, I hope we learned that since most everything stopped for at least some amount of time, it was a perfect opportunity to evaluate the ministry before just automatically re-starting it.
The ministries a church offers should not be random. Nor should the ministries be chosen because the church down the street is offering it and they are reaching young families doing so. The church should not be offering a ministry because it is one particular person’s pet project. And, just because the church has offered a ministry for the past twenty years does not inevitably mean we should offer it for another twenty.
The ministries offered by a church must be intentional and they must be effective! But intentional and effective for what? The ministries offered by a church should be the means by which the church lives into its mission and vision. Since all churches have the same mission, to make disciple-making disciples who transform the world, the vision is the unique way the church lives out that mission into God’s preferred future. The Leadership Board sets church goals for the intentional steps the church needs to made in the upcoming months or year for the vision to become a reality. Then those goals are broken down into objectives. Those objectives are the ministries or activities the church will plan that align to the mission, vision and goals. In other words, the ministries are a direct reflection of living out the mission and vision via the goals.
Next, we need to measure each ministry for effectiveness. So often in the life of the church, we become frustrated that people are not responding to a ministry so we just work harder and harder rather than evaluating. In order to evaluate, we must first establish the purpose of the ministry and what effectiveness looks like. In other words, why are we offering the ministry, what is the intended outcome, and what would a fruitful outcome produce? Be specific so it is measurable. Answers these questions before you begin planning the ministry. Then everyone will be on the same page in the planning and implementation. When the ministry or event is finished or at particular regular intervals, pull the ministry team together to evaluate towards the why, what, and fruitfulness. What went well? What would you change? Would you do it again or not and why? What did you learn? Make sure you document everything so you remember, but so you can also share with other ministry teams. If things did not go as expected or the outcome was not as favorable as the team desired, it is okay. You learned something and now you can try another ministry that could bear a more fruitful outcome. This is far better than continuing the same ministry without an effective outcome for years to come wasting precious resources as churches often do!
The why of our church ministries should not be random, pet projects, or because they are the tradition. Why we offer the ministries we do at our churches should be because through them people are coming to know Christ, growing in their relationship with Christ, and/or transforming the community and the world because of them! Know the why of your church’s ministries!