The Launch

Use these five steps to launch a successful ministry.

As a whole, ministers are rarely accused of not working hard. But I want to make sure I'm also working smart.

When I look at the marketplace, which I often do as a strategist, I see leaders who are forced to work smart because there's a bottom line telling them if their strategies are working. But in the ministry, the bottom line remains more intangible. It's difficult to evaluate how well we're doing, so we tend to work hard and pray hard and trust God that the "bottom line" will turn out to his liking.

I try to work hard, pray diligently, and trust God. But I don't want to spin my wheels using unproductive strategies. So I've learned to be specific about what it is we're trying to accomplish.

The following five steps, we've found, are central to successfully launching a ministry.

1. Build on leadership, not need

Ask most leaders, "On what basis do you start a ministry?" and the reply is, "We see a need, and we try to meet it."

According to our experience, that's a good answer, but not the best. We've found need is an insufficient foundation. We start with leadership. Any endeavor that works seems to require a leader.

Traditionally, as pastors we feel we have three options when confronted with a need. Let's say there's rumbling about the lack of a junior high program. What can we do?

First, the pastor can run a program personally. In most cases, that adds an eleventh hat to a person struggling under the weight of ten. And maybe the pastor has few qualifications or little interest in junior high ministry.

Second, some pastors can ask a staff member to take on the ministry. But often the CE director ends up doing children's ...

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