you would have to be living under a leadership rock to have not heard the saying “start with the why.” or maybe the phrase you are familiar with is “start with the end in mind.” bottom line is, both of these thoughts compel us to decide where we want to end before we begin. what is our goal in ministry? i believe when we apply that truth to the Gospel at center philosophy, the answer is simple. our goal is always the Gospel.
we begin, we continue, and we end, with the Gospel. Gospel at center becomes the filter for all we do.
if your heart resonates with all we are talking about at Gospel at center, know this – a Gospel-centered ministry doesn’t happen accidentally. beginning, continuing and ending with the Gospel goal takes intentional planning, programs, filters, and accountability. let me share some examples with you that this “prone to wander” ministry leader has had to put into practice.
if you are new in a position, this is a great place to start. if have been in a position for a while, this is a great place to pause and evaluate. the cause is that important and the goal of Gospel-centered ministry is eternal.
- Gospel champions – before beginning at my current position, and after being at my former position 10 years, i gathered a team of investors (that’s what i call volunteers), parents, and other church leaders to make our champions team. we met for several weeks, praying and evaluating and deciding on a Gospel-centered focus for the ministry. (my current focus is confident in Christ. our main goal is to help kids and families become confident in Christ.)
- evaluation – once we had our focus, all activities, events, and programs were on the table. if we held them up to our Gospel-centered focus and they didn’t match we discussed what we needed to keep, change or quit. this is the time to have honest conversations about a traditional event you are required to do that reaps no Gospel benefits.
- plan – if we were going to begin, continue, and remain Gospel-centered we had to have a strategic plan. when we began this almost 6 years ago, i was shocked at how i was adding less to the church calendar, but adding more events and programs with Gospel substance. allow eternity to be your guiding force, not a calendar full of activities. along with your team of champions, decide on elements that achieve your Gospel-centered goal. then add to your year’s plan and stick to them.
- filter – your Gospel-center focus is a great filter. many well-meaning church members come with many good ideas about what they have seen done or other churches down the street are doing. while we welcome ideas, we can’t allow fun ideas to be distractions from the goal. each idea that comes to you from a member or a meeting must pass the filter test before it becomes a reality. in short – a filter is an easy way to say no so that you can press on to the goal.
- accountability – as you promote and evaluate events, share with your staff and parents how each item supports your Gospel focus. welcome constructive criticism on where you have strayed from your goal and where you have completely missed the mark. don’t sit silently in staff meetings, be ready to share how what you are doing in your ministry is encouraging, supporting, and/or challenging kids, students, and families towards the greatest goal – the Gospel.
if you are like me you want to get on track immediately, but i have learned to be patient and allow God some room to do what only He can do. at the same time, i need to make sure i am out of His way and obedient to where he leads. what is one thing you can do, or ask God to do, to align your ministry more with the Gospel today?