as the old saying goes, “if a tree falls in a forrest and no one is there, does it make a sound?” while that can be debated (but come on, of course it makes a sound) it is a question that gets you thinking. so my question for us at gospelatcenter.com is this, if we don’t ask if our ministry is Gospel-centered, do we really know?
this question comes from a genuine place of desiring accountably to be about what matters most – the Gospel. but i, like many, if not careful, can be lulled into a place of complacency. this is why i believe we need to make it a priority not only to strive for Gospel-centered ministries, but to cast vision, evaluate, and hold ourselves accountable.
while juggling hundreds of ministry plates we can settle for mediocre and allow the Gospel to slip in second, third, or maybe even tenth place in our ministries. if we don’t begin by casting a Gospel-centered vision we have no goal to work towards. but, we can’t stop there. i am a visionary by default and without some concrete goals, my vision for a Gospel-centered ministry can often fall short.
- use Gospel-centered curriculum
- don’t add anything to the calendar that doesn’t have the Gospel as its goal
- when people are gathered, whether inside the church or out, the Gospel will be shared
these are just a few checkpoints to begin with if you want to make sure you stay the course of a Gospel-centered vision you have in your ministry. what are some other guideposts you can set as you strive for a ministry/event centered on the Gospel? please share in the comments.
when an event, program, or year is done, so am i. i love to celebrate all that God has done, but to pause and evaluate doesn’t come naturally for me. of course i want to grow and improve on past experiences, but there is already something else pressing and it is hard to find the time to stop and discover if you hit or missed the mark on Gospel-centereness. this is why i am thankful for a good team. as we are growing, we have made it a commitment that before too much time passes we will evaluate and see how we can improve.
pausing to critique is only have the battle. asking the right questions is part two is the evaluate stage. for example, we just completed kidlife (vbs) and after i returned from a much needed week at the beach, i formulated a survey to send to key volunteers/leaders. while this ten question document contained some typical follow-up questions, there was one i was most concerned about. see our ministry statement for dawson kids is confident in Christ. our desire in all we say, do and plan is to help kids and families become confident in Christ. so the question which, for me, will provide the most evidence of Gospel fruit or lack thereof is this one – how did you see this event help kids and families become confident in Christ? if i didn’t ask, if there are not stories to provide proof, then we are off center from the very core of why we do what we do.
i confess that plastering confident in Christ on everything and promising staff, volunteers, and families that all we do runs through that filter can be a bit overwhelming. i mean, if we didn’t share the goal so often, we just might be given some slack and allowed to fall short of the standard we have set. trust me, i fail plenty, and if communicating our vision helps hold us more accountable to the goal we have set, then bring on the constructive criticism.
do your parents know what the goal of your ministry is? do your fellow staff members get regular updates communicating what you are about? sometimes, it would just be easier to stay quiet, but easy never really brought much worth did it? so i challenge you to share with volunteers, ministerial staff, parents, team members, facility staff, communications leaders, elders deacons, and anyone that will listen. share with them the Gospel-centered philosophy of your ministry and if you get really brave, ask those you trust to hold you accountable to ways they see you wandering from center.