Recently, I was talking with a pastor and was fascinated by the variety of opportunities that ministries have in front of them. Church used to be predictable. It was on Sunday morning. People sat in pews. They brought their Bibles and dressed up and went to Sunday School and drank Folgers.

But not anymore. Church has changed. They meet at different times on different days. They meet in church buildings. But they also meet in pubs, coffee shops, theaters, and high schools. They have different names, even weird names, and they have different goals. Changes are everywhere and so are opportunities. In this new era of what it means to do church, we need to always be learning and willing to see those opportunities.

Jesus. Mission. Strategy. Structures.
In That Order

It All Starts with Jesus

Whether your ministry is a year old or a century old, you can’t forget the reason that your ministry exists. As Psalm 71:18 says: “Even though I am old and gray, do not forsake me, oh God, till I declare your power to the next generation!”

Of the 20% of growing churches in America, only 1% are reaching new people for Christ. Anything we do is shortsighted if it doesn’t keep Christ front and center. It’s up to us to remember that it all starts with Jesus and we need to be pointing people toward Him.

Know your Mission and Purpose

Churches with a defined purpose know 3 things about their ministry:

  • Where they have been (their legacy)
  • Who they are (their present)
  • Where they are going (their future)

A clear, focused purpose with a strong and driven mission will guide the process of decision-making. It will give clarity about facilities or campaigns. It will give you a strategy for navigating every single turn.

Purpose is the reason something is done; why it exists; it’s aim and intention. In a ministry setting, knowing your purpose and letting it guide you are two different things. That’s why we clarify purpose with some necessary questions and considerations:

  • What is the reason your church exists?
  • What is your aim or intention?
  • Does your Mission/Vision Statement reflect your purpose & intentions?

Always measure decisions against your purpose. Always go back to it! And BE clear about it.

Know Who You Are

  • What is your DNA?
  • Are you urban? Suburban? Rural?
  • Who is your primary audience? Secondary?
  • Is it Multi-ethnic? Multi-generational? Young families? Young professionals & urbanites? Retired? Internationals? College students?
  • What is your current attendance in worship and in education? Are you growing? Sustaining? Declining?
  • Are you focused on a neighborhood? Are you more regional? Multi-site or single site?
  • What are your ministry goals or your growth goals?
  • What is your place in the community: “Come & See” or “Digging Deeper”? All growing churches do both, but often emphasize or prioritize one over the other.
  • What amenities do you provide? Community Center? Preschool? Care?

As Proverbs 16:3 says– “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” The process of discovering your purpose and being guided by it requires wisdom and honesty. But most important of all, it requires prayer: prayer for the actual purpose, for the team, and for the start to finish process of your project.

Planning is Pivotal! A new building is not the goal. The Gospel is. The building is one of the tools to do the work that’s at the heart of your ministry. It’s a platform for engaging people who are in your church and people who have yet to be reached by it. That’s why decisions need to be made in light of who you are and your role in the community, and not by trends or other churches’ visions.

The Strategic Master Plan

Rather than starting a project that is reacting to a concern or problem, we want to take a step back. We want to have a bigger conversation about the bigger picture for your church. Many churches are pushed by problems. They are reacting to antiquated or outdated technology or facilities. They’re concerned that they’re not keeping up with other area churches. Their problems are steering their conversations. The Strategic Master Plan allows you to be pulled by vision.

Remember: the building is the tool, not the goal. The vision is the goal. The Strategic Master Plan helps us plan with the future in mind.

Visioning & Ministry Planning…It Happens More than Once

Growing ministries monitor often. Staying relevant to your community and true to your purpose require this type of self-assessment and honest dialogue. That’s why the Strategic Master Plan is an essential part of your growth and building process.

It starts with listening so that we can understand your mission, vision, and purpose. We listen to each ministry area to determine the goals that are unique to you. We help discover and define your vision for worship, children and family ministry, student ministry, community outreach, etc. And then we distill and differentiate your goals from one another and ensure that all is aligned to those core components of your identity.

Master Planning looks at all of the options available to you from a scope, cost and capability vantage point. It aligns your ministry and your team to a single direction: your long range plan for ministry. In other words, it aligns your plans with your purpose.

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The opportunities for your unique vision to come to life are in front of you. But so are a million distractions and opportunities to get off purpose. You must know who you are and where you’re going. And you must bring other people alongside you who can make your vision a reality.

Station 19 can partner with you to make your vision a reality. Contact Us to learn more.