Manual From Our Doorsteps: Developing a Ministry Plan that Makes Sense

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People who are experiencing burnout see no hope or positive outcomes that will change their situations. Click To Tweet. We are typically aware of being consumed with stress—we are less aware of burnout when it happens.

The steps of the strategic planning process in under 15 minutes

Mattera, J. In Ministry Today.


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Smith, M. Burnout Prevention and Recovery. In HelpGuide. Momentum is one of the most valuable forces in any organization. When you have individuals within who are connecting to your organizational vision and mission—then there is likely real movement happening. When you combine fervent prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, and some good ole fashion momentum—even better!

Imagine yourself standing at the top of a hill with a ball at your foot. With one small kick you can send the ball rolling down the hill, quickly gaining momentum. Suddenly, the ball is rolling faster and faster—with only a small amount of energy exerted.

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Now imagine standing at the bottom of this hill, trying to kick the ball upwards. You kick the ball upward only to have it continuously rolling back down again. You are now exerting tons of energy to try and get this ball up the hill—seemingly pointless.

In ministry, there are times when things seem to be going well and your efforts are easily met with reward.

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Then, there are other times where your efforts are met with resistance. Your actions and good intentions are like that ball rolling back down the hill over and over again. We want our ministries to make the best from momentum because it is the key to success. It makes sense that you have to build momentum in order to manage it. How do we build momentum in our ministry? Well, it is not always as easy as giving the ball a small nudge down the hill.

Oftentimes, we may have to push a heavy stone ball inch by inch until momentum occurs. Perhaps this manifests by continuously casting vision over your group. Some members may not understand the vision or know how to practically latch onto it. One way to persevere through these challenges is to continue to share the vision. Our humanity often requires repetition for real change to happen. You may wish to consider making the vision less ambiguous by providing practical ways your members can participate in the organizational vision.

Keep pushing that big boulder—with confidence that God is guiding you and directing you. How do you keep momentum going once you have it? However, we must continue to cast and recast the vision over and over again to keep people inspired throughout the routines of ministry. It is harder to do this when runners are in the middle of a course.

Continue to find ways to bring clarity and practicality to the group vision. As the group leader, it is also important to look at what your group members are currently passionate about. Is there a way to steer their current excitement towards the direction you feel the group should go? The main point here is focus. You will want to create sturdy tracks to guide momentum and prevent wasting of momentum.

Sure, it may feel like a great idea and energy well spent but does it bear good fruit? Does it move people towards the desired destination? We need to create tracks or safeguards that guide our ministry. It is the job of the leader to develop well-defined boundaries that keep the ministry moving along in the right direction. It is best to observe that things happen and we can oftentimes plan ahead for them. Then, find ways to develop momentum and guide your ministry towards achieving its purpose! There are many occasions in ministry when we withdraw from our bank of creativity and great ideas.

Then there are other times when we really just need God-breathed inspiration. We want to see things happen not by our own strength, but by the power of our awesome God who activates with perfect timing and heavenly tactics. We can only accomplish this through making decisions with the guidance of the Holy Spirit! Remember that: we walk by faith and not sight 2 Corinthians ! Walking by the Holy Spirit is quite simple…and seemingly arbitrary at times. Ultimately, it comes down to how you live your life on the daily.

Being Spirit-Led is not an event or an action; rather, it is a lifestyle that must be fully embraced.

From Our Doorsteps

We have to surrender our lives each day to His will and not our own. When we make these daily sacrifices, I believe that heavenly revelation and power will be more so in our lives. This may sound crazy, but you will also have to practice being Spirit-Led. We have to really buckle down and ask the Spirit to move—recognizing that He can move in unimaginable ways compared to our meager efforts. The Holy Spirit is an important member of your ministry team—do not forget to invite Him to your meetings!

However, I feel that each person and their humanly nature dictates what type of approach to take when making decisions through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It may be more beneficial to cover a few go-to mindsets and how to find balance when working through them. Healthy Habit: Let me be up front and say that there is nothing implicitly wrong with this mindset. How else can we hear from God amidst the plethora of opinions, ideas, and general noise? We need to seek God and find His direction for our ministry.

I find that there are times when we really need to buckle down and pray. I believe that it is important to note that God is trying to communicate something through these dry spells.


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We may have to pray with more focus than usual—we may even be led to fast! However, there are times to pray and then there are times to act. I tend to think of this story that was told to me that illustrates what I am trying to say.

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He prayed that God would rescue him as he was stranded on some type of fixture. A lifeboat came by and called him aboard.

The lifeboat left to grab other people in need. Eventually another lifeboat came along and then another. Eventually, the man perished in the flood. Those three lifeboats you turned away were all sent from me!

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My point is that sometimes we do not always get the clearest picture of what God is saying to us. Our eyes need to be open and alert to our surroundings because He may be moving us to act while trusting Him. There are times to pray and then there are times to act—trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us as we move forward in faith. There is a verse in the book of Ezra when the people around encouraged him to take courage and to act. After spending time in prayer, we need to recognize that sometimes God is supporting us and wants us to move forward in faith.