Is the Suit a Good Fit?

by kensneed2 on September 3, 2011

Would you purchase a suit that looked good without trying it on first?  I would hope not!

Why would ministers hear about another church’s program that’s attracted lots of attention and decide that if they copy it, it will be a huge success for them?

St Francis Cathedral, Baton Rouge

Whether it’s what another church does, or an original ministry/program that a staff member dreams up, how do you know that it will be a success?  Or maybe it’s been implemented already.  How does a church know if it’s worth the time, effort and money that’s invested?

The real question is, “What fits for my ministry?”  (or “. . . for our church?”)  You see, I fear that trends, fads, one person’s favorite method or the latest “cutting edge” ministry is often implemented even though it’s really not a good fit for the pastor, staff or congregation.

So, how would a minister or a church body determine what’s really right for their ministry?  Consider these as some helpful components:

  • Prayer — Though it would seem obvious that this is the place to begin, it’s possible that prayer opens a meeting, and then goes nowhere else.  Keeping the church family informed of new & existing ministries and needs is crucial for God’s success to be realized for each congregation.  Ask for regular prayer and be specific in reminding the people of each need
  • Committee — Committees can be difficult to assemble, wearying to guide and burdensome to bring to a conclusion, and at the same time, the input from a representative number in your church make for a better connection with the membership.
  • Numbers — DON’T let numbers alone be the measuring stick for what’s right and what’s wrong in the ministry of the church and/or the staff.  Those activities/ministries that are intended to include the entire church, or a specific population, but get very little response after a reasonable trial period might be a good indication that adjustments need to be made, or the whole program scrapped.  Ending a program is not a failure, it’s a success if it becomes impetus for meeting needs, not just having programs.
  • Response — The response to an activity or ministry is not just numbers. Keep these measures in mind:
  • Survey — Survey members you’re ministering to, before, during and after a program to determine if it’’s meeting needs.
  • Monitor Activity — Watch the look on participant’s faces.  Listen to the talk between those involved.  Ask for opinions and thoughts about the meaning to those impacted by the program.
  • Trusted Friends — When it’s ministry that is provided by one of the ministers or the ministry team, asking for honest appraisal by friends that can be counted on to be honest.
  • Risk — Counting the risk involved prior to the beginning of the project saves confusion and disappointment.  Knowing that there is risk involved in any new program shouldn’t keep it from moving forward.  Just know that the results may not be what you’d hoped for, and that still doesn’t make it a failure.
  • Outsiders — Don’t forget to solicit comments and evaluations from those who are not members of the church.  They very well may have a more objective viewpoint than members would have.  Also, you can engender an interest from the visitors to a church program, and perhaps get them to be a part of your church because they are regarded as important to the church.

Others’ methods might be beneficial for you and your church.  Be sure you evaluate before implementing.

From preaching, to music, to the order of service, to weekday programs, to Sunday morning Bible studies, developing what benefits the church family’s needs and ministers to the community should be tailored to what fits, not just what is decided to be good for the church.

Think about this: Did God call you to imitate others or Him?  How can you allow Him to use your unique gifts to minister to people as well as present the Gospel in ways that might be heard by unbelievers?

Want help developing ministries that fit your church?  Can you use some fresh ideas for planning with your staff, the church or in your personal life?  Contact me at or call 225-773-8883.

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