Starting a Ministry?

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3 Keys to Success

As a pastor people often say to me “Pastor, I think we ought to start this or that ministry in our church.” And perhaps the “This or That” ministry is a wonderful idea. As a young pastor, I too thought the same if we could do this or that my ministry would be very successful. However, through mentorship and counsel from more experienced pastors and leaders, I soon realized I can’t do everything, and perhaps it is not my place to do so.

Good ideas are worth looking into and maybe as a pastor, I should encourage these ideas into thriving ministries. I believe there are 3 things every ministry needs to do in order for it to be successful in our churches.

Number one Bring People to Christ.

A ministry needs to bring people to Christ, and part of that is Baptism. And since baptism should be the number one goal of our church, its ministries need to have the same goal. This goal has a tremendous impact on the church and will in your ministry as well.

Matthew 28:19-20 says Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.

Your ministry idea might also be community service-related and may not seem to bring people to Christ, however, maybe planting a seed for later harvesting. I once had a member start a food pantry and in my tenure as pastor of that church, I did not see any of its patrons come into the baptistry. However, I did find its members and ministry supporting individuals have a deeper relationship with Christ. This type of ministry still expanded Christ’s Kingdom.

If you are finding your ministry seems to be in a stalemate in regards to bringing people to Christ, maybe it is time to re-evaluate its mission and goals.

Number two Church Supporting.

If a ministry is going to thrive in the church, it has to support the church. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:13 explains that baptism is the initiation process of becoming part of the body. That body he refers to is the church. When starting a ministry, it should never compete with the church as a whole. For example, creating a ministry as an alternative to an existing ministry or scheduling regular events that overlap other ministries and other church events.

The ministry needs to support the beliefs and goals of the church it is a part of. One of my mentors puts it this way a church supporting ministry has four connections. God, Partner, Mentor, and Flock.
For your ministry to be successful you need to also have a relationship with God. You will need to surrender to Him and seek His will each day. Without a relationship with God, how can we minister to others as well?

Next, find a partner who will help you plan and carry out your ministry with you. Ministry is hard however, it is easier with someone who is also passionate about the ministry as well.

Once you and your partner have an action plan in place, then ask a church board member to be your mentor. I have found that a mentor is a huge key to my success as a pastor. Now a mentor is not someone who will run and operate the ministry but someone who will listen to you and give you guidance. This step also shows the church that you support it and maintain a part of it as well. When a mentor can no longer serve as your mentor you need to find another board member in order to remain a church-supported ministry.

Once you have a relationship with God, a partner, and a mentor, now you need a flock. These are the people you are ministering to. Go get them! Bring them to Jesus!

Number three Willing to Serve in Secret.

Be willing to serve in secret. This might sound strange or even silly, but I believe it is essential. In Matthew 6:3-4 Jesus said “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

A good servant is willing to serve in secret without applause. Christ called for his disciples to practice serving in secret. They should only care about the applause of heaven and not of men. Are you commonly seeking the applause of others? Or, is the applause of God enough (cf. 1 Cor. 4:5)? This is a servant mentality—caring exclusively about the master.

When I was first encouraged to enter into the ministry I was in a lay member class. The goal of the class was to learn how to have an effective Bible study ministry. Once during a ministry rally with other students, I was asked how is ministry. I then unloaded my excitement of what I, I, I, and I was doing. I totally forgot that the person asking me was also doing the same thing and did not even ask them how their ministry was doing. God’s work is not ours we are just servants of the heavenly kingdom. If you are doing ministry just to get praise and adoration of other fellow humans then your ministry is not for the purpose of Christ or His Church instead it is self-seeking.

When our ministry has a goal of expanding the kingdom of Christ, supporting His church, and we are willing that Christ receives all the credit and not for ourselves then I believe your ministry will thrive.

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