If there’s one thing we can be sure of in the New Year, it’s that our ministries will face a variety of challenges. I don’t mean to be a downer, but whether it’s the need to increase volunteers or take generosity to a new level, there will be issues that, left unaddressed, might keep you from achieving the ministry impact you are praying for this year.
Identifying the most common ministry challenges facing the church today is actually one of the things we get super fired up about as we partner with thousands of churches across the country. I know, that sounds odd. How is it that challenges fire us up? Call us crazy but nothing is more fulfilling to us than helping church leaders find solutions to the things that keep them up at night. With that in mind, here are several resources we developed to help you overcome common challenges you might encounter in 2015.
Challenge: Turning our ideas for ministry into reality. We all have a mission statement, a vision path, and a strategic plan. Most of us could quote them on command. But are we executing? Are we actually reaching the lost, making disciples, and impacting our communities for Christ ... or are we just talking about it?
Resource: From Ideation to Innovation. Through stories of accidental success and colossal failure, this webinar provides simple, practical, and tactical steps to move your leadership team, staff, and congregation from apathy to action, from clutter to clarity.
Challenge: Plugging first-time guests into our ministry and making sure they stick. When it comes to connections, many leaders check out, believing it’s someone else’s responsibility. You can’t disciple someone without a relationship, but it requires good process to connect people to your church through relationships. In our experience, it is the churches that do connections well that also seem to be good at creating disciples.
Resource: The Assimilation Engine. Churches employ a variety of systems designed to help them carry out their mission. The assimilation engine will help move people toward full engagement in the mission and ministries of the church. The assimilation engine includes four basic processes: hospitality, information gathering, followup, and connection.
Challenge: Leading, equipping, and multiplying volunteers. Most of the responsibilities within our churches are handled by people who don’t draw a paycheck. Yet there seems to be a constant tension brewing from an often unmanaged dichotomy within most congregations: those who are volunteers and those being served by volunteers.
Resource: The Challenge of Leading Volunteers. Volunteers are people, too. They should be the intended focus of the overall ministry of any church. Volunteers are engaged the same way any other person is engaged in church — through relationships.
Challenge: Measuring ministry effectiveness. Most pastors didn’t get into ministry to look at spreadsheets or to become data analytics experts. Becoming proficient with numbers isn’t easy for most ministry-minded folks. It can feel like a maddening shell game. No matter which number you choose, the meaning can be elusive.
Resource: The Numbers Game. Numbers, once properly measured and understood, can provide you the kind of accurate information that will help you and your ministry team become more efficient and effective. Then you’ll have more time to focus on people — thereby helping you build the authentic community of believers you’ve always desired.
Challenge: Encouraging and challenging church members to live generously and be part of the work God is doing through giving. Church leaders have more insight into their members’ giving habits than they probably realize, but it requires a process to collect, organize, report, and act on the giving data available to them.
Resource: Balancing Intuition with Information. Church leaders who lean on both intuition and information make better decisions, cast more compelling visions, and create better ministry action plans. The ‘Tell All’ donor report helps church leaders tap into an ecosystem of data that will help them move forward with confidence, conviction, and purpose.
Do any of these challenges resonate for you? We will accomplish the most in 2015 if we are fully prepared to deal with whatever circumstances come our way.
What is your biggest concern regarding your ministry this year?