You’ve heard it: “Pastor, I think this church needs XYZ ministry” or “Hey Preacher, I’ve got a great idea how we can reach more people!” or something along those lines.
To be sure, these folks mean well, and DO think the church needs some additional ministries. Hey, I think the church needs to be involved in more ministries!
But here’s the deal: unless I want to lose my wife and children (and plenty of other relationships, and my health, and my sanity…well, you get the idea), I can’t be the one to initiate, oversee, recruit volunteers, etc. for your ministry idea. No matter how awesome it sounds!
So over the years, I have refined my requirements for starting a ministry down to three basics:
1. Biblical. You would think this would go without saying, but… Unless your proposed ministry accomplishes one of the purposes of the Church, why don’t you make it a personal ministry for you and your friends. The fact that you call it a ministry does not necessarily require that it be performed under the auspices of the church.
There are extremely wide margins when simply requiring a ministry to be biblical. In our world today, we have to allow greater opportunity for creativity; to be effective in our task requires of us a new way of thinking. The needs and concerns of our neighbors necessitate wide margins. So start scribbling in the margins.
*Does it glorify God and give us an opportunity to bless others?*
2. YOU see it through. If God has laid a ministry on your heart, and after prayerful consideration you feel confident in this burden, then I have one word for you: GO! But just so there is no misunderstanding; YOU go! Not me. Feel free to lead and/or delegate, rise up and/or recruit, involve and/or inspire. We’ll support you, but you make it happen.
*Do you love this ministry enough to make it happen, no matter what?*
3. You are free to fail. That may sound counter-intuitive, but unless we know we have the freedom to fail, we won’t try anything outrageous for God. Try something! If it works, build on that. If it doesn’t, take a step back, retool, and head a different direction. Rarely, if ever, has a successful ministry been birthed perfectly. Ministries change, morph, and adapt as necessary. What worked two years ago might not work today. And that’s okay. Keep being creative. When we stop trying, we may as well lock the doors.
*Without fear of failure, what will you attempt for the Kingdom?*
There are practical issues inherent in ministry formation, of course (how much will it cost, what facilities are to be committed to it, does it need approval from some governing body,etc.), but those are logistical issues that always seem to work themselves out. If God’s hand is in it, step back and be amazed!