How To Start A Ministry & How To Run A Ministry [2024]

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Are you looking to discover how to start a ministry and how to run a ministry?

Is your heart’s desire to see lives transformed in profound ways?

If these questions resonate with you, then rest assured, you are in the right place.

In this article, we will empower you – someone with a ministry-minded vision – and equip you with the tools and knowledge to bring about significant kingdom change through you ministry.

In this article, we will dive deep into how to start a ministry and how to run a ministry.

**ATTENTION: In this article I won’t be giving you everyday ministry advice. I will be giving you a blueprint to create a Godly, successful ministry based on almost two decades of experience in Christian ministry and Christian business. I have had the privilege of working and consulting with some of the world’s largest ministries and have spent millions of dollars marketing ministries across the globe. I have sent hundreds of thousands of people to ministry websites and grown websites with tens of thousands of monthly viewers. Finally, my focus of study over the past 15 years is to understand Biblical Growth works. 

I say this to tell you, without a doubt that the most impactful ministries get that way because THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

I’m going to tell you how to do things differently as we continue. 

Average ministries get average results because they employ average strategies. 

World changing ministries are the exception because they do things differently from the rest of the ministry herd. 

If you are ready for a challenge, BOOKMARK THIS PAGE and let’s begin by exploring what a ministry really is, and why so many ministries start out on the wrong foot. 

How To Start A Ministry: What Is A Ministry, Really?

When we hear the word ‘ministry’, it’s easy to picture a church with a towering steeple or perhaps a non-profit reaching out to the less fortunate.

But in reality, is that all there is to it?

Often, aspiring ministry leaders aiming to leave an indelible mark on the world tend to cage their ambitions within predefined boxes.

They might think, “To make a real difference, I need to start a non-profit” or “True ministry work is rooted within the walls of a church.”

While these are undoubtedly impactful avenues, holding onto such beliefs can limit your vision and, in turn, your effectiveness.

Here’s a groundbreaking thought: A ministry, in its truest form, isn’t just about the legal structure or the label “non-profit”.

Instead, it’s about the mission and vision behind it. It’s about an initiative with a core goal – spreading the teachings and love of Christ while addressing the deeply felt needs of people he died for.

This broader perspective opens up a vast array of possibilities for what a ministry can look like.

Think about it. A ministry could be a for-profit business that channels its earnings into missionary work.

It could be an online platform offering spiritual guidance and connectivity in an increasingly digital world.

Or yes, it could be a brick-and-mortar church in your community. It could also be a sub-ministry within an existing church. 

The essence is to move beyond the typical constraints and recognize that the structure – be it non-profit, for-profit, physical, or digital – should be a strategic choice.

This choice should emanate from the ministry’s vision, the needs it aims to address, and the best way to achieve its divine objectives.

By embracing this expansive definition of a ministry, leaders are equipped to make strategic choices that are rooted in purpose rather than convention.

Physical or digital? Non-profit or for-profit?

These aren’t just binary decisions but opportunities to mold a ministry that resonates, connects, and serves kingdom minded leaders in the most effective way possible.

So, as you embark on this journey of faith and service, ask yourself: What does my ministry look like?

And remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Your ministry is as unique as the calling God has placed on your heart.

How To Start A Ministry: Determine The Size Of Your Calling & Vision

At the heart of a truly transformational ministry lies an understanding that goes beyond the surface.

It’s not just about bringing people together, or even solely about spreading the teachings of Christ.

To truly grasp the weight of the calling to lead, we must start with the correct way of thinking about ministry.

When God calls you to initiate and oversee a ministry in any capacity, you are being called to something that is a matter of life and death

That may sound a bit extreme, but it’s true.

To people like you and me,  life is often viewed through a physical lens. We are born, we live for a certain span, and then our physical bodies die. But is that all there is to life?

Certainly not, according to God’s Word.

The Lord doesn’t see life as just the beating of our hearts or the breaths we take.

True life, in God’s eyes, is eternal life, a spiritual existence that is obtained through the redeeming blood of Jesus.

Anyone outside this salvation in Christ is not truly ‘alive’ in the spiritual sense. In fact, they’re spiritually dead. 

As stated in Ephesians 2:1 (NIV):

 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.”

Look around you. The world isn’t brimming with the living; it’s filled with souls in need of life. This realization casts the mission of ministry in a stark light. Our endeavors to reach the unreached, to spread the message of salvation, is not just a noble cause – it’s a matter of eternal life and death.

Reflect on 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV): 

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 

If God doesn’t want to lose a single sheep, and He has called you into a shepherding role, He will provide anything required for the ministry work he has called you to do.

The apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 3:20 (NIV): 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” 

God’s resources are limitless, and His power unfathomable. Every soul we don’t reach is a soul potentially lost for eternity.

Therefore, as leaders in Christ, it is crucial for us to aim for what may seem impossible in human eyes, and then, with God’s guidance and provision, we will work to achieve it. The stakes are too high, and the calling too profound, to settle for anything less. 

I for one will be finishing the race, and there is nothing that will get in my way, or slow me down. I’m tired of ministry as usual and I’m not willing to settle for anything less that the most God has for my life, and I don’t care what it takes. If this sounds like you, then you may be a great fit for our Monthly Ministry Growth Subscription Program where you work directly with me or our Free Christian Marketing Internship where our interns get 6 months and 500+ hours of digital ministry training and learn to reach the world for Christ. 

ASSIGNMENT: Ask yourself what God is truly calling you to do. Don’t settle for the fear that tells you “your not being reasonable”. Don’t settle for the small version of his calling you for your life. You can choose to be the 10 talent leader. In my experience, God tends to show up in a powerful way when you reach the edge of yourself. This means your vision should be far bigger than you can accomplish yourself. It should be impossible. 

Question: If you could create any ministry with no obstacles, no budget restrictions, no limitations in any way, what would that ministry look like? 

How To Start A Ministry: Get Your Mindset Right

Ministry burnout is a pervasive challenge that many church leaders confront. 

Surprisingly, a majority of ministry leaders transition out of their vocation within just five years, often due to the sheer exhaustion and emotional toll that ministry can exact. 

We dive deep into this alarming trend in our full article on Pastor Burnout.

If you are going to start a powerful ministry, you will need to last long enough to see it through. Let’s discuss how to overcome the burnout epidemic. 

Step 1: Do you have the willingness to sacrifice? 

Achieving anything of genuine value demands sacrifice. As the saying goes, “nothing good comes for free”. 

The Bible eloquently captures this concept of sacrifice when it states, “What good is it to GAIN the whole world but LOSE your soul?” 

This verse is a reminder the more you gain, the greater the potential sacrifices we must be prepared to make. The verse points out that if not sacrificing to the lord, it’s possible to sacrifice your soul in pursuit of worldly things. 

Jesus Christ exemplifies this paradigm of sacrifice for a kingdom outcome. With the highest divine purpose entrusted to Him, His journey culminated in the ultimate act of suffering and sacrifice. Of course his sacrifice culminated in the ability for humanity to have eternal life in relationship with God. 

His life is a testament to the lengths one might need to go to in fulfilling God’s calling on their life.

However, the willingness to sacrifice is only half of the equation. 

If you are going to create a powerful ministry that creates a kingdom impact, sacrifice will be required. 

The good news is that there is a way to mitigate this sacrifice so that it’s manageable, and doesn’t cost you your family, burnout, or something worse. 

This is the understanding of how we sacrifice. 

Ministry isn’t a short-lived sprint; it’s a lifelong marathon. To finish it, leaders must learn the art of sacrificing sustainably

Without a well-thought-out strategy, even the most dedicated individuals can quickly burn out. 

Many ministry leaders inadvertently compromise their well-being, answering calls at all hours of the day and night, logging 80-hour workweeks, and sidelining their own needs for rest. 

This approach often stems from a noble desire to serve and sacrifice for the kingdom, but it’s essential to recognize the difference between high performance and overperformance

While the high performer is sustainable and can be maintained over the long term, the latter is a fast track to burnout.

Luke 14:28 reminds us, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” 

In the same spirit, before diving deep into ministry, you must ‘count the cost’ of your vision. 

Determining the sacrifices necessary is vital, but equally important is understanding the pace and manner in which these sacrifices should be made. 

Passion for ministry is admirable but it means nothing if you quit because you overworked yourself. 

Sustainable sacrifice means not jeopardizing other critical aspects of life, like one’s relationship with a spouse, children, or personal health, etc.

You will accomplish far more as a high performing ministry leader who lasts 40 years in ministry than an overperforming ministry leader who only makes it 3 years. 

While sacrifice is intrinsic to the journey of ministry, it must be approached with wisdom, strategy, and an unwavering commitment to sustainable service.

ASSIGNMENT: Count the Cost

  1. Make a list of the resources such a vision will cost.
  2. Ask How much you can sacrifice over a particular time frame without becoming unsustainable.
  3. Project how long it will take to fulfill the vision.
  4. Double it to account for unforeseen complexity that WILL arise.
  5. Ask if you are willing to pay that price over that timeframe. 

For example, if it takes $1,000 but you can only sacrifice $100 per month without becoming financially unsustainable, then you know it will take at least 10 months to fulfill the visions of the ministry ($1,000/ $100pm = 10 Months). Account for all the resources your ministry vision will require. These resource may include:

  1. Time
  2. Attention (mental energy)
  3. Energy (physical energy)
  4. Money

Consider this passage by Paul to better understand the sacrifice required in the Christian life, and in Christian ministry in general. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

As a finite ministry and as a finite individual, you only have so many resources to expend every day.

Suppose God gives you 10 new resources to allocate to life and ministry everyday, and they.

What you do with those resources will determine whether or not you will make it in ministry. 

Overspending Resources: Ministry leaders that won’t make it over the long run spend their resources much differently than a healthy, high performance ministry leader.

Leader’s destined for burnout spend their resources like it’s going out of style.

These leaders don’t realize they are running a marathon and decide to sprint the first mile, then they are too exhausted to continue running the rest of the race.

They don’t realize they are limited to 10 resources each day, so they spend 20 resources each day, for six months, or a year.

They do this because they are “sacrificing for the kingdom”.

Then one day they show up to the race, and they are too exhausted to continue.

They spent their resources too fast, and it came from their future resources.

This is called resource debt.

Just like overspending your credit card just takes money from your future, overspending your ministry resources just takes them from your future.

Then one day you show up and there is nothing left to spend.

That’s ministry burnout, and that’s unfortunately commonplace for ministry leaders. 

Underspending Resources: Still other ministry leaders lean to the hyper-spiritual, failing to use the resources God has blessed them with in favor of belief in the supernatural solving any and all ministry problems.

These leaders spend far lower than their allotted ten resources each day and expect God to do all of the work.

They are like the boxer beating the air instead of their opponent and expecting God to provide a miracle, instead of just fighting like they are in a real fight.

These are dreamers who ultimately see little or no fruit and don’t understand why God hasn’t “blessed” them.

In reality, they failed to do their part in the spiritual labor God set their hand to. 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24

Healthy Sacrifice of Resources: Your goal is to spend 9-10 of those resources productively each day.

Not more. If your church or ministry requires you to consistently give more resources than you have to give, then the ministry is not healthy.

It’s asking for something you do not have and is therefore not functioning in reality.

Your role as a ministry leader is to follow God on the path he has charted out for you, and to simply do your best.

Your best doesn’t mean perfect. It just means your imperfect best.

If that’s not good enough, God will make up for the rest.

That’s what Christ did when he died for our sins.

God knew we weren’t capable of atoning for our own sin, and he sent Christ to humble himself in the form of man, to die in our place, to make up for our shortcoming.

Your job is simply to do your best, to use 9-10 resources each day in the most productive way possible.

Then you rest and let God pick up the slack. 

This is a healthy, sustainable example of a high performance ministry lifestyle. 

This is hard enough to maintain and requires you attune to your body and internal resources and try to find the edge of yourself each day. 

In Paul’s words, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

This is a challenge and it requires a healthy lifestyle where you eat healthy, exercise, and you get 8 hours of sleep each night.

A healthy lifestyle where you do your best, using all of the resources God has entrusted you is a sacrifice, but a sustainable one over the long run.

This is akin to running long distances.

Sooner or later you get used to running the distance and though you may feel tired, you know how far you can go, and so you speed up or slow down to account for changes in the environment around you. 

If you can get on board with healthy ministry sacrifice, as we have discussed, then you have what it takes to last in ministry. 

Now let’s look at what we sacrifice for in ministry. Like Christ, we sustainably sacrifice of ourselves to meet the needs of others. 

How To Start A Ministry: Meeting Needs in Ministry

A thriving ministry hinges on its ability to identify and meet the deeply felt needs of its audience. 

Those who are in my programs or consult with me hear me say all the time, “People go where their needs are met, and they stay where their needs are met consistently.” 

This principle is central to growing and sustaining a vibrant ministry. 

Jesus exemplified this through His actions, addressing specific needs of individuals – providing fish to fishermen (Luke 5:4-6), food to the hungry (Matthew 14:13-21), and sight to the blind (John 9:1-7).

If ministries grow when we meet the needs of the flock Christ called us to, how do we know what those needs are? 

Contrary to common belief, it’s not always a bible study, a men’s group or a sunday service that meets the need. Furthermore, you don’t need a lot of programs, you just need the right program. 

Pastor Craig Groeschel explains in his book titled, “It: How Churches And Leaders Can Get It and Keep It”, that his ministry only offered 4 programs until they had over 20 campuses. Many of those campuses were mega-churches in their own right. 

The easiest way to discover what the needs are in your community is to use the Minimum Viable Ministry Strategy.

How To Start A Ministry: The Minimum Viable Ministry Strategy 

This approach is an efficient strategy to validate new ministry initiatives, while stewarding your ministry resources in a God honoring way. 

Its goal is to develop a basic, imperfect version of a ministry idea that you believe God might be leading you to integrate. 

The essence of this approach lies in identifying the pain and problems of your ministry’s audience and finding ways to meet those needs powerfully and quickly. 

(We have used this strategy to take our own website from 3 website visitors a day to over 1000 visitors a day in the last 12 months.)

By starting small and focusing on core needs, you can gauge the impact and reception of the ministry, ensuring resources are invested in areas that truly resonate with your congregation.

Creating, implementing, and testing a Minimum Viable Ministry (MVM) program involves several clear steps:

Identify the Need: Conduct surveys, focus groups, or informal discussions to understand the deeply felt needs within your congregation or community. 

Develop a Concept: Based on the identified need, conceptualize a basic ministry program. This should be a simple version focusing on the core purpose. This is a theory of how you believe you can best meet this need. 

Plan the Implementation: Outline a basic strategy for executing this program, including resources needed, timelines, and who will be involved.

Start Small: Launch the program with a small group within your ministry to keep it manageable and measurable.

Gather Feedback: Regularly collect feedback from participants through surveys, direct conversations, and observation.

Analyze Results: Review the feedback and performance metrics. Look for signs of engagement, impact, and any suggestions for improvement.

Iterate or Pivot: Based on feedback, refine the program to better meet needs, or consider pivoting to a different approach if the current one isn’t resonating.

Scale Up: Once the program shows signs of success and positive reception, gradually expand it to include more participants or additional features.

Continuous Monitoring: Even after scaling, continue to monitor the program’s effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

Remember, the MVM approach is about agility and responsiveness, ensuring your ministry’s resources are effectively used to meet real needs in your community.

How To Run A Ministry: The Christian Ministry Lifecycle

The lifecycle of a church or ministry mirrors the principles of service and community engagement. 

In its early stages, marked by a steep upward trajectory, the focus is external – meeting the needs of the community. 

This period of rapid growth is driven by the foundational principle that “people go where their needs are met.” The ministry is powerfully meeting needs in the community and people flock to the church. 

It’s instructive to reflect on the early Christian church’s practices as described in Acts 4:34-35 (NIV) during it’s period of rapid growth:

“There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

This passage highlights how the early church’s focus on actively meeting the needs of its community was fundamental to its growth and unity. 

It emphasizes the principle that a church’s vitality is closely linked to its commitment to addressing the needs of its members and wider community.

Another example of meeting needs driving growth is found in Matthew 4:23-25 (NIV):

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[a] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

In this passage, Jesus’s ministry of healing addresses the immediate needs of health and spiritual guidance. 

As Jesus meets these needs, people who have had their needs met spread the word about him, leading more people to bring the sick to Him. 

The result is an ever-growing following, exemplified by the “large crowds” mentioned at the end of the passage. 

This cycle of need-meeting and community growth underlines the power of addressing core needs in fostering engagement and growth in a ministry setting.

As the church matures, there’s a subtle but significant shift in focus. Questions change from “How can we serve?” to “How can we sustain?” – a move from external to internal needs. 

This transition often leads to a plateau in growth, as the church’s outward impact diminishes.

To maintain growth and vibrancy, it’s crucial for a church to continually revisit its founding mission of meeting community needs. 

The lifecycle’s success is tied to how effectively a church can keep this outward focus, embodying the truth that meeting people’s needs is at the heart of ministry growth.

As a church matures, the focus often inadvertently shifts from external service to internal sustainability. This transition, while subtle, can have profound implications:

Loss of Community Connection: As the church turns inward, its connection with the community’s real-time needs may weaken. The vibrant outreach that initially fueled growth may diminish.

Inward-Looking Questions: The narrative changes from fulfilling community needs to addressing the church’s operational concerns. This inward focus can alienate those the church initially sought to serve.

Growth Plateaus: As external impact lessens, growth plateaus. The church may become more a self-serving entity than a community beacon.

Revisiting Founding Missions: To counteract this degradation, it’s crucial for churches to continuously reconnect with their original mission of serving community needs.

Ongoing Outward Focus: The church must strive to maintain an outward focus, ensuring that its actions and programs are aligned with the community’s evolving needs.

By recognizing and addressing this natural drift, a church can realign its priorities, reignite its mission, and continue to grow effectively.

If a church facing slowing or deteriorating growth successfully refocuses on its initial calling and ministry vision, it can experience a revival in both spirit and numbers. 

This renewed focus can re-energize the congregation, attract new members, and increase community engagement, leading to sustainable growth and impact.

Conversely, if a church fails to reorient itself towards its foundational mission, the decline may continue. 

Over time, this can lead to diminishing attendance, reduced community influence, and potentially the closure of the ministry. 

It’s essential for church leadership to remain vigilant and proactive in maintaining the core vision and mission to prevent such decline.

Growth is determined by how many needs you can consistently meet, and for how many people you can meet those needs for. 

How To Run A Ministry: Strategic Ministry Alignment

For those initiating ministries within an existing church or nonprofit, aligning with the overarching vision is crucial. 

If your endeavor is part of a larger organization, it’s essential that your ministry’s goals complement the main body’s vision.

For instance, if your church focuses on aiding inner-city single working mothers to foster healthy family environments, starting a sub-ministry targeting surfers might not align well. 

Such misalignment can lead to confusion among congregation members, diluting the clarity and purpose of the church’s overall mission. 

Misalignment between ministry vision and ministry programs drains ministry resources and leads to Cylo ministries. 

It’s vital to ensure that your new ministry enhances, rather than detracts from, the overarching goals of the organization, maintaining unity and focus.

How To Run A Ministry: Create A Ministry Vision

Running a successful ministry starts with a clear and compelling vision. 

A ministry vision is the guiding star that sets the course for all activities and decisions. 

It articulates the purpose and direction of the ministry, embodying what you hope to achieve in the long term.

Why Do We Need A Ministry Vision?

The importance of a well-defined ministry vision is paramount. A vision:

Creates Direction: Like calibrating a compass, it provides clear guidance. It aligns efforts towards achieving a shared objective.

Fosters Unity: With everyone pushing towards the same horizon, it cultivates unity among members.

Establishes Purpose: It bestows every endeavor with profound meaning.

Ignites Passion: A galvanizing vision can spark profound passion in your community, propelling them towards the collective aspiration.

Inspires Commitment: A vision that deeply resonates will attract increased resources, volunteers, and leaders. A clearly communicated vision ensures that programs and decisions strategically align with the ministry’s core objective.

For instance, if a ministry’s vision centers on community outreach in a specific region, every program, including seminars or conferences, should reinforce this vision, emphasizing the broader goal.

As Proverbs 29:18 aptly puts it:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”.

When your God given vision is POWERFUL & CLEAR, not only will God walk with you, but people will show up to help you make it a reality. 

ASSIGNMENT: What will the world look like when your ministry has accomplished its God given vision? Be specific. 

Where Do I Get A Ministry Vision?

Deriving a vision for your ministry isn’t about brainstorming or team meetings. The true vision is given by God, it’s your calling.

Many leaders might attempt to craft vision statements through consultations, retreats, or even by studying other ministries.

But authentic vision is divinely inspired.

As the head of the ministry, you are entrusted with this vision.

Rick Warren’s wisdom holds true here as well, “So you as a leader must have God’s vision for your ministry. Whoever is establishing the vision in your ministry is the leader of that particular ministry. A ministry will never outgrow its vision, and the vision of a ministry will never outgrow the vision of its leader.”

Your vision, as the leader, must resonate with what you feel God wishes to unfold through your ministry.

John Graham’s insight is fitting: “You’ve got to give yourself the freedom to dream – to use your imagination to see and feel what does not yet exist. A vision comes from the heart.”

How To Run A Ministry: Strategic Church Values

A church core value encapsulates a deeply ingrained belief that is deliberately selected to guide every decision and behavior of every individual within the ministry. 

Ministry Values tell your audience how to go about reaching the vision.

This ensures that every action aligns with the church’s mission and vision, reinforcing the roadmap towards its larger goals.

It’s a common pitfall for many ministries to gravitate towards generic, feel-good terms, labeling them as ‘values’. 

Here are some examples of poor values used by ministries:

  1. “Loyalty, honesty, faith, trust, accountability, and respect”.
  2. “We put God first”
  3. “Love Others”

You might be thinking to yourself, “these sound like Biblical values, what’s wrong with these?”

Take number 2 for example. 

It should go without saying that in your Christian church, you “put God first”. 

That value should be baked into the cake. 

The same is true with “loving others”. Loving others is a fundamental value of being a Christian. 

If the people in your church aren’t loving others, there are bigger issues at play than church values. 

Other obvious and unnecessary values that go along with “love people” and “we put God first” are, “we don’t steal” and, “we don’t murder”. 

These fundamental Christian values should not need to be stated unless your ministry truly exists to instill the most basic set of Christian values into your congregants. . 

Your values should build on the foundation of basic Christian values. 

Your chosen values should be strategic and make your church uniquely capable of reaching its specific, God given vision. 

The first set of values on the list appear to be  more specific. 

Here they are again, “Loyalty, honesty, faith, trust, accountability, and respect”. 

While they are more specific values than “love others”, they appear to just be a list of feel good words. 

I would be interested to know if the congregation with these values struggles with faith or respect? Are they disloyal? 

The purpose of values is to set up guardrails for acceptable and unacceptable behavior that is relevant to YOUR audience. 

Why specify that your congregation should be respectful if your congregation is generally respectful to begin with?

This is not a strategic use of your values, or of the attention of your audience. 

While ministry values like we have explored might sound positive and uplifting, they often lack the strategic depth required to drive real change and alignment within the congregation. 

Authentic values shouldn’t just be pleasing to the ear; they should be meticulously crafted, acting as catalysts that inspire and guide the congregation’s behavior. 

By doing so, these values heighten the likelihood of the ministry achieving its vision. 

It’s crucial to differentiate between mere fluffy words and values that truly resonate, driving purposeful action in the right direction.

What is a Church Values Statement?

A church values statement is a concise yet impactful statement that brings clarity to the fundamental beliefs that govern the behavior of everyone in the ministry. 

This is not merely a statement to be recited; it’s a living guideline that is reflected in every decision, program, and initiative.

A strategically crafted church values statement creates clarity on the actions required to overcome challenges while driving the church towards its vision. 

In the absence of clear core values, individuals might feel directionless when confronted with problems on the journey towards the vision. 

A lack of standardized guiding principles can lead to chaos, with different members operating based on their individual values, which might not always align with the ministry’s vision.

Alternatively, when a congregation has and understands a clear set of guiding values, they can take ownership over the goals of the ministry and take action without waiting to ask unnecessary questions. 

Strategic ministry values empower everyone in your ministry to take action. 

The Interplay of Values, Mission & Vision

Church Vision: This is the aspiration, a clear identification of the future world the church is working towards. It is the ‘promised land’ for your church, analogous to the one God promised Moses and the Israelites. It defines how the world will be transformed when the church realizes its kingdom purpose. What does the land flowing with milk and honey look like for your ministry and its participants? 

Church Mission: This is the blueprint, the description of the journey to realize the vision. It depicts the challenges, sacrifices, and hurdles that need to be overcome to transform the vision into reality. Just as the Israelites faced countless adversities to reach their promised land, the church’s mission should also be challenging, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. What is your escape from egypt? What is your wilderness journey and land filled with giants to be faced?

Church Values: At its core, values define the behavioral standards, especially during challenging times. For a church, values are the bedrock beliefs that dictate behavior consistently. As ministries inevitably face challenges, these values act as a compass, ensuring that every step taken aligns with the church’s broader mission and vision. The more extraordinary the church’s vision, the more distinct and strategic the values need to be. Generic values like ‘integrity’ or ‘prioritizing Jesus’ will not differentiate a church and might even hinder growth.

How To Run A Ministry: Create a Financial Plan

Developing a solid financial plan is a fundamental step in establishing and maintaining a successful ministry. 

This plan will serve as a roadmap, guiding your financial decisions and ensuring that your resources are effectively allocated towards achieving your ministry’s goals.

Assess Your Current Financial Situation: Begin by evaluating your ministry’s current financial health. This includes understanding your income sources, expenses, debts, and assets.

Identify Income Sources: It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of where your funding will come from. This could include donations, grants, fundraising events, and other sources. For more insights on how churches can navigate financial challenges, especially during tough economic times, visit Church and Recession Strategies.

Budgeting: Create a detailed budget that outlines expected income and expenses. This should include operational costs, outreach programs, staff salaries, and other ministry activities. Effective budgeting helps in managing funds wisely and ensures financial stability.

Financial Goals Setting: Define clear financial goals that align with your ministry’s vision and mission. These goals could range from short-term objectives like funding a specific outreach program to long-term goals like building a new church facility.

Fundraising and Revenue Generation: Develop strategies for fundraising and revenue generation. Explore creative ways to encourage giving and stewardship within your congregation and community. For guidance on church finance management, refer to Church Finance.

Expense Management: Keep a close eye on your expenses. Prioritize spending based on your ministry’s most pressing needs and goals. Cutting unnecessary costs can free up funds for more important endeavors.

Investing in Growth: Consider investing in areas that will promote growth and expansion. This might include marketing, staff development, or facility upgrades.

Financial Transparency and Accountability: Maintain transparency in your financial dealings. Regular financial reports and audits can build trust with your congregation and donors.

Plan for Sustainability: Aim for a financial plan that ensures the long-term sustainability of your ministry. This includes having reserves for unforeseen circumstances and planning for future growth.

Diversification of Income Streams: Explore diversifying your income streams. This could involve renting out church facilities, hosting community events, or starting church-based businesses. For more ideas on how churches can generate income, explore How Do Churches Make Money.

Remember, a well-thought-out financial plan is not just about managing money; it’s about stewarding God’s resources effectively to maximize the impact of your ministry.

How To Run A Ministry: Setting Measurable Objectives

Creating measurable objectives is a critical aspect of ministry management and ministry growth. 

This involves defining clear, quantifiable goals that align with your ministry’s vision and mission.

The Importance of Measuring Fruitfulness

Ministries that fail to measure effectiveness are at risk of becoming stagnant. 

It’s crucial to identify what aspects of your ministry are bearing fruit and which are not. 

Without this understanding, resources can be misallocated, leading to ministry bloat. 

This is akin to a vine that is not pruned; unproductive programs and ideas can drain resources from fruitful endeavors.

Pruning for Growth

Regular evaluation of your ministry’s activities against your quantifiable goals will highlight areas that need improvement or discontinuation. 

Pruning unproductive aspects of your ministry ensures that resources are redirected toward areas that contribute to growth and impact. This is good stewardship of ministry resources.

This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. 

KPIs are specific metrics used to evaluate the effectiveness and success of an organization’s activities. 

They provide quantifiable targets that ministries can strive towards, allowing for ongoing assessment and adjustment of strategies.

Choosing Effective KPIs

Alignment with Vision and Mission: Choose KPIs that directly support your ministry’s core objectives and values.

Specific and Measurable: KPIs should be quantifiable, allowing you to track progress over time accurately.

Attainable and Relevant: Set realistic KPIs that are achievable within the resources and constraints of your ministry.

Time-Bound: Establish a clear timeline for achieving each KPI, whether short-term or long-term.

Measurable objectives and KPIs are not static. 

They should be regularly reviewed and adjusted in response to changing circumstances and new insights. 

This dynamic approach ensures that your ministry remains agile, relevant, and effective in fulfilling its mission.

Setting measurable objectives and using KPIs allows ministries to focus on growth areas, prune unproductive programs, and allocate resources efficiently.

This strategic approach leads to a more vibrant, impactful, and sustainable ministry.

Here are some Examples of how KPI’s might be used in your ministry. 

New Visitor Retention Rate: The percentage of new visitors who return after their first visit. This KPI reflects the effectiveness of your welcoming and integration processes.

Volunteer Engagement Rate: The proportion of congregation members actively involved in volunteering. This KPI measures engagement and commitment levels within your ministry.

Community Impact Score: Quantified outcomes of outreach programs, such as the number of people served or specific community needs met. This KPI assesses the real-world impact of your ministry’s outreach efforts.

Digital Outreach Success: Metrics like website traffic, social media engagement, and online sermon views. These KPIs evaluate the reach and effectiveness of your digital ministry platforms.

Financial Stewardship Metrics: This could include the ratio of budget allocated to mission-driven activities versus administrative costs, or the growth rate of donations and tithing. These KPIs provide insight into financial health and stewardship.

Discipleship Program Growth: The number of participants in discipleship or small group programs, and their growth over time. This KPI measures the effectiveness of spiritual growth initiatives.

Baptism and Membership Conversion Rates: The number of baptisms or new members as a proportion of total visitors or attendees. This KPI is a direct measure of spiritual commitment within your ministry.

Now that you know how to choose useful KPIs, let’s discuss what to do with them once you are tracking them effectively. It’s worth it, trust me. 

How To Run A Ministry: Strategic Decision-Making

Effective ministry management relies on the interplay between decision-making and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 

KPIs serve as a compass, guiding strategic decisions and signaling when adjustments are necessary.

For instance, consider a scenario where a church decides to modernize its discipleship program. 

The church leadership might observe a significant dip in a related KPI, such as discipleship program attendance or engagement levels. 

This decline is a critical indicator that the new approach may not be resonating with the congregation.

In such cases, it’s prudent for the leadership to reassess these changes. 

They might consider gathering feedback to understand the reasons behind the decline and explore alternative methods more aligned with the congregation’s needs. 

The key is not to persist with a strategy that negatively impacts vital KPIs but to remain flexible and responsive.

KPIs help tell a story of what’s working and what isn’t in a ministry’s journey. 

By closely monitoring these indicators, church leaders can make informed decisions that contribute to the ministry’s overall health and growth. 

Following the trends and directions indicated by growing numbers allows leaders to discern where God might be guiding the ministry.

In essence, responsive and adaptive decision-making, guided by the insights provided by KPIs, leads to a more fruitful and impactful ministry. 

This approach ensures that resources, efforts, and strategies are aligned with God’s guidance and the ministry’s vision.

How To Run A Ministry: Evaluate & Improve

Feedback in a ministry context refers to the information and opinions gathered from various sources about the performance and impact of the ministry’s activities. 

It’s a critical component for continual improvement and growth. Here are a few reasons getting feedback about your ministry is critical to its growth. 

Identifies Strengths and Weaknesses: Feedback helps in recognizing what’s working well and areas that need improvement.

Encourages Adaptation and Growth: It allows ministries to adapt to the changing needs of their congregation and community.

Fosters Engagement and Ownership: When congregation members feel heard, they are more likely to engage and take ownership of the ministry’s vision.

Aligns Efforts with Mission: Feedback ensures that all activities are aligned with the ministry’s goals and vision.

How to Use Feedback to Optimize Ministry:

Actively Seek Feedback: Create opportunities for congregation members, volunteers, and staff to share their insights regularly.

Analyze Feedback: Systematically analyze the feedback, looking for patterns or common themes.

Implement Changes: Based on the feedback, make informed changes to programs, services, or strategies.

Communicate Changes: Let your congregation know how their feedback has influenced changes.

Monitor Results: After implementing changes, monitor KPIs and other metrics to assess the impact of those changes.

Create a Feedback Loop: Establish a continuous process where feedback leads to action, and the results of those actions are again subject to feedback.

By effectively leveraging feedback, ministries can ensure that their efforts are both responsive to the needs of their congregation and aligned with God’s direction, leading to a more fruitful and impactful ministry.

The Risks of Not Utilizing Feedback in Ministries

Ministries that neglect to track and utilize feedback encounter significant challenges in identifying and resolving issues. Without a system to measure and analyze feedback:

Blind Spots in Ministry Operations: Without feedback, ministries can develop blind spots, overlooking critical areas that need attention or improvement.

Missed Opportunities for Growth: Feedback is a key driver of innovation and growth. Ignoring it can result in missed opportunities to evolve and better serve the congregation.

Inability to Address Congregation’s Needs: A lack of feedback mechanisms means ministries may not be fully aware of their congregation’s evolving needs and expectations.

Decreased Engagement: Without acknowledging and responding to feedback, congregation members may feel undervalued, leading to decreased engagement and participation.

Stagnation: A ministry that does not adapt based on feedback is likely to stagnate, failing to remain relevant to its community and members.

In essence, the absence of a robust feedback system hinders a ministry’s ability to identify, understand, and solve problems, ultimately impacting its effectiveness and growth.

Evaluating and improving a ministry’s activities and strategies are crucial for growth and effectiveness. 

Here are some of the ways you should be gathering feedback to assess the health of your ministry. 

KPI Monitoring: Regularly review digital metrics (website traffic, social media engagement), in-person metrics (attendance, participation rates), and other relevant KPIs. This quantitative analysis offers objective insights into the performance of different ministry aspects.

Surveys and Feedback Forms: Distribute surveys to your congregation and community. This can provide qualitative feedback on various programs and initiatives, giving a voice to those you serve.

Financial Data Analysis: Assessing financial reports and budgets can reveal much about the stewardship and financial health of your ministry. It helps in understanding resource allocation and identifying areas for financial improvement.

Staff and Volunteer Feedback: Engage with your team members for their insights. They often have first-hand information about different areas of the ministry.

Community Impact Assessments: Regularly evaluate the impact of your outreach and community programs. Understanding the real-world effect of your efforts is crucial for mission alignment.

By utilizing these diverse feedback mechanisms, you can obtain a comprehensive view of your ministry’s performance, leading to informed decision-making and continuous improvement.

Building and sustaining a ministry is a journey of passion, dedication, and strategic alignment with God’s vision.

By focusing on meeting the needs of the community, maintaining an outward focus, and ensuring alignment with the larger church’s vision, a ministry can thrive and grow.

Remember, the success of your ministry is tied not just to the fervor of your initial vision, but also to your ability to adapt, stay true to your core values, and continually serve the needs of those around you.

With a heart centered on God and hands ready to serve, your ministry has the potential to make a significant impact in the lives of many.

That brings us to the end of this post on how to start a ministry and how to run a ministry. Let’s see some common FAQs.

How to Run a Ministry FAQ

What is the first step in starting a ministry?

Begin with prayer for guidance and clarity on God’s vision for your ministry.

How do I identify my ministry’s core values?

Reflect on the principles that resonate deeply with your faith and mission.

Can a small ministry have a significant impact?

Absolutely. Impact isn’t measured by size but by the depth of commitment to serving the community’s needs.

How important is community engagement in ministry?

It’s crucial. Understanding and addressing community needs is key to a successful ministry.

How do we maintain our ministry’s focus?

Regularly revisit your vision and mission, ensuring all activities align with these core objectives.

What should we do if our ministry’s growth plateaus?

Reassess your strategies, reconnect with your foundational mission, and explore new ways to engage with your community.

How do we align a new ministry within an existing church?

Ensure the new ministry complements the overarching vision and mission of the church.

What are the signs of ministry burnout, and how can it be prevented?

Signs include constant fatigue, loss of passion, and decreased productivity. Prevent it by ensuring sustainable work practices and regular spiritual rejuvenation.

How can we measure the success of our ministry?

Through both qualitative and quantitative measures, such as community feedback, participation levels, and the fulfillment of set goals.

What role does joy play in ministry work?

Joy is essential. It sustains motivation, fosters a positive community atmosphere, and reflects the spiritual fulfillment found in ministry work.

What questions do you have about how to start a ministry or how to run a ministry? Let’s discuss them in the comments!

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