The Shape of Ministry
(Adapted from The Art of Getting Things Done by David Allen)
1. Defining Purpose and Principles
a. This is the “why” question.
b. Why are we doing this ministry?
c. Why, specifically as Christians, do we care if this ministry gets done?
d. What are the theological consequences of failing to do it? The practical consequences?
Note: The theological/practical questions must always be asked in this order—this differentiates ministry from management. We have a primary stake in the first, and secondary stake in the other.
· This helps us define what success will look like.
· It helps to set the parameters for the resources necessary.
· It clarifies focus.
e. What standards and values do we operate under?
· What behavior or approach might undermine what we are trying to accomplish?
2. Outcome Visioning
a. This is the “what” question that defines success for this ministry.
b. What would success look like?
c. How will we know we’ve done what we set out to do?
d. Envision “WILD SUCCESS.”
a. This is the “how.”
b. Capture as many ideas as possible without editing.
c. Write them down—get them onto something (paper, whiteboard, etc.).
a. This is where ministry begins to take shape.
b. Begin to notice natural relationships.
c. Now, begin to sort by:
· Sequence, date
· Like directions
d. Begin to narrow down options.
· Set priorities (What’s most important? What can we put on the back burner?)
5. Identifying Next Actions
a. This is where the rubber meets the road.
· Decide on next actions for all moving parts.
· Next actions—literally. What is the next physical activity that needs to be done to move the action forward? Place a call? Write an email? Approach someone to solicit help or resources?
· Decide who is going to be responsible for each next action, and how that person will report on its completion or lack of completion.
· Are there some things on which you must wait? What are they? How long should you wait?
· Is another meeting necessary?
· Set the date and time before leaving.
· If what is needed is greater clarity, then move further up the scale (Purpose and Principles, Outcomes, Brainstorming). The less clarity, the higher up the chain. Revisiting Purpose and Principles regularly is an important practice. If you don’t know why you’re doing anything, then it doesn’t matter what you do.
· If, on the other hand, there’s too much spinning of wheels, move down the scale (Organizing and Next Actions). If you know what needs to be done but are spending too much time talking about it and not doing it, identify next actions. As Will Rogers said, “Plans get you into things but you’ve got to work your way out.”
A Reminder about the New Structure
- Leadership Coordination Ministry—formerly “Leadership Team”
- Ministry—(e.g., Worship Ministry, Nurture Ministry, etc.) formerly “Committees”
Purpose: Renaming organizational bodies ministries reorients the focus from organizational structure to ministry. Seen this way, the organizational structure exists to provide resources for ministry, rather than as an end in itself. Moreover, the Leadership Coordination Ministry exists to coordinate the ministries of the church, rather than to be responsible for initiating them.
Organizational Focus: Under the new by-laws adopted in Spring 2009, DBCC has organized itself with its chief focus on facilitating ministry. To do this the emphasis has shifted from organizational maintenance to ministry. We have put in place an organizational model that is responsive to the vision DBCC has for ministry—a model not concerned with filling spaces on the organizational chart, but with correctly discerning people’s gifts and providing the organizational structure to free them up to do ministry. The primary orientation, then, will be to seek ways to support and encourage ministry, rather than to put up roadblocks to it. Organizational structure seen in this light is to support the body just like a skeletal structure. It is vitally important, but it ought to be as imperceptible and unobtrusive as possible. It simply supports our mission; it is not the mission.