Leadership involves the innovation and execution of ideas. But sometimes great ideas aren’t the best ideas for your ministry. Below are four simple questions a church leader should ask before starting a new ministry initiative.

What’s the purpose?

Purpose drives practice. Everyone knows a clear purpose is helpful, but few people take the time to clearly articulate it. Sadly, the purpose for a new direction is often assumed rather than articulated. And, in this assumption, the fog of confusion spreads. If you can’t write out the purpose of your new ministry initiative in one sentence, then you are aren’t ready for a new ministry initiative.

CLICK TO TWEET: “If you can’t put the purpose of your new initiative in one sentence, then you aren’t ready for a new initiative.” @PattersonJosh

Does it complement or compete with the greater mission?

Competition has its place, but it can’t be to the detriment of the greater mission. It’s not unusual to discover that a new idea either competes with the greater mission or competes with another ministry initiative that already exists as a complement to the greater mission. This is where humility and courage collide to simply say no to competing initiatives within your organization or church. Remember, the leader is to serve in a similar fashion as a coxswain, or “boat servant,” on a competitive rowing team. The coxswain sits on the boat and gives the calls to the team. He or she ensures the team rows in concert, navigates the course efficiently and that the collective energy of the team moves in the same direction.

CLICK TO TWEET: “Competition has its place, but it can’t be to the detriment of the greater mission.” @PattersonJosh

How will you define success?

Before you launch a new ministry, it’s vital to clearly know what this ministry will look like if all goes well. Conversely, defining success in advance lets you know when you haven’t achieved it. It is helpful to use both quantitative and qualitative metrics to paint the full picture. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, and stories alone can be anecdotal. Work with your team to dream about the impact of this ministry and begin to refine exactly what it is that you are working toward.

CLICK TO TWEET: “Before you launch a new ministry, it’s vital to clearly know what this ministry will look like if all goes well.” @PattersonJosh

How will the team be trained?

Train towards the win. It is not enough to have a compelling purpose and clear understanding of success. In a real sense, that is the easy part of the process. Now the intentional work of training and development begins. How will this new ministry initiative work to train and develop leaders to own and execute the ministry? Ultimately, intentional training leads to multiplication of leaders, and healthy multiplication requires training. A plan needs to be in place prior to the launch of any ministry.

CLICK TO TWEET: “Intentional training leads to multiplication of leaders, and healthy multiplication requires training.” @PattersonJosh

These four questions do not represent the totality of the planning process, but they are vital for a healthy ministry initiative. And they need to be revisited often. Clarity around each of these questions better serves our energies and resources, and, ultimately, the people we are called to serve.

About The Author

Josh Patterson

Josh Patterson serves as the Lead Pastor of Ministry Leadership at The Village Church located in Flower Mound, TX. The church has witnessed a tremendous growth since December 2002; growing from 160 to averaging over 10,000 adults across four campuses during weekend worship services. He serves on the elder board and has oversight of all ministries across the church’s four campuses in Flower Mound, Denton, Fort Worth, Plano and Dallas. Josh is also a co-author of the book “Creature of the Word” along with Matt Chandler and Eric Geiger. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is his family. Josh and his wife, Natalie, are the proud parents of Lily, Luke, Liv, and Lucy.

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