Keep the Biblical principals in mind and never replace what we think we need over what He calls us to do!
Scriptures to Consider and Pray Over: Matt. 25: 31-40; 28:18-20; Acts 2:42-47; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Pet. 2:5-10
This step clarifies the steps taken to this point, and suggests strategies on how they can be implemented. Pastors and Elders can do this once a year to make sure you are still on the right track.
There is a difference between what we desire, which are our "felt needs," and what God calls us to, which are the "ministry needs." "Felt needs" tend to be what we need personally, such as daycare, or youth ministry. However, "felt needs" can deteriorate into just focusing on us, and not on the Lord. An example might be doing youth ministry in a certain unchanging way, unconcerned of where the real youth needs are, just doing it as you are told to or the only way you know how. Another example would be that needs could become selfish and petty (see Online Bible Study 36, Romans 14: 13-23)
Keep the Biblical principals in mind and never replace what we think we need over what He calls us to do! In order to put application to what God is calling the church is to strategize our needs as revealed after prayer and searching the Scriptures. Spend at least an hour in prayer with the leadership and pastors of the church, and then consider the following:
1. Review what you did in the previous steps. What do you think are the greatest ministry priorities "needs" for your church?
2. What are the strengths and weakness evident in your church?
3. Make a list of at least a dozen strengths and weaknesses; place them according to priority, from the most important to the least.
4. Ask, why do you believe the reasons of what you have listed is important?
5. If the needs were met, what would be the benefit and outcome?
6. There are your anticipated desires; that is what you expect. However, what would happen if the outcomes were not what you expected? Are you prepared to trust in the Lord for His results, whether or not they meet your expectations?
7. If you do not meet those needs, how will the church and the community respond? How would Christ respond if He were in the room with you? Oh, by the way, HE IS!
8. What decisions need to be made about programs that need to be encouraged, fixed, or started to implement those needs?
9. When can the decisions be made?
10. Do you have programs that are not needed, or need to be revamped?
11. Do you have programs that can be reworked to meet those needs?
Consider that for some programs, you may need help, especially if you are a church of fewer than 100, as 90% are! Do not bite off more than you can chew! Baby steps can be more effective than jumping into something you may not be able to pull off! Consider cooperating with another church for community programs, and even in youth ministry if you do not have the people and resources to do it alone. We are all part of the Body of Christ!
12. When can the programs be developed? Keep in mind if you have ones that are working, it is not necessary to fix what is not broken. However, most of the time there is room for improvement!
Set up a timetable; what you will do this month, next month, up to a year, and so forth. For your next leadership meeting, make out a five-year plan. Be flexible and willing to make changes to your changes. Also, make sure you are listening to everyone!
13. What is in the way of implementing those decisions and needs?
14. What could be done to remove those hindrances?
15. Can you now set up a specific timetable and action plan?
16. How much time has been spent in prayer? If not at least one-third of your planning time, you need to start over. Prayer is the key to God's door, and a necessary habit for the leaders!
Now, look at what you wrote for the demographics of your church and neighborhood. Does your church reflect its neighborhood? Do your people live in the neighborhood? Do they commute to the church? Is yours a community church in a suburb, where people in the neighborhood also attend? Is yours a church in the inner city where the attendees drive to from the suburbs? Are the people who live next to your church able to attended without shame, and do the members welcome them with love and care? Alternatively, is yours an exclusive club in your exclusive area?
There must be the desire not only to reach out, but also to welcome people into the family. If you do not want them in your family, do not reach out to them. If you have that philosophy (hey, it is a free county here in the US; do what you want), please take down the sign that says "church" and replace it with "club." Most people in the neighborhood will know that anyway, it just keeps the new people from wasting their time, being embarrassed, and getting a false impression of our Lord.
17. Ask what are the ministry distinctions, such as single mothers, widows, owners of businesses, students, etc.
18. Compare the two lists. Are they similar, different, a combination?
19. What do they have in common, and how are they different, such as interests, activities, occupation, etc?
20. In what areas of the church do the people need to work to be more accommodating and accepting?
21. How can you tailor the needs to be inclusive to both lists, to both groups of people?
Consult with people from those groups to determine, for example, the needs for single mothers. Ask several of them and research it so you will make the best decisions. Do not automatically assume anything; check it out! Lots of churches jump into programs and find out there was no need for them, when they could have focused on a much more needed area. People then get their feelings and hopes hurt and lose the enthusiasm to do what they should have done in the first place. Ask yourselves; do we need a daycare or just a mother daughter night out fellowship, or daily meals on wheels, or Sunday brunch after church?
22. What are the programs that can meet the needs of both groups? This will result in more interaction so that family building can develop.
23. What are the programs you currently have, and how can they be improved?
24. What are the strengths and weakness of these programs?
25. What new areas need to be developed?
26. What must happen to develop programs for specific community needs?
27. What are the spiritual development needs for both of the groups?
- Where are they spiritually, in their journey to maturity in the faith?
- What level of maturity can they grow to be?
- What can you do to help them along the path of spiritual maturity in the areas of teaching and discipleship?
Evaluate your existing programs. How do they meet the people, bring them into the family, and help them grow in maturity and faith?
28. What programs do you now have that can benefit the neighborhood?
29. What can be done to improve them?
30. How do you measure success? Numbers are generally used as a prime indicator. Moreover, most of the time, numbers tell a lot. There are times and situations that numbers do not reflect, such as maturity of the people attending, their desire to grow and reach out, or the temperament of the community. Be discerning. Do not just look at numbers. Look at the passion and love of the leaders, their faithfulness and ability to teach and coordinate, and the situation (1 Cor. 2:9).
31. Do you have programs that are stale, that are not meeting needs and are ineffective? If so, how do you look at non-success? What do you need to do to improve them? Should they be continued, replaced, upgraded?
You have been finding the types of people in your church and community, their needs, both spiritual and felt, and how you can tailor your church personality and programs to meet them. You cannot focus on the "felt needs" and ignore the spiritual "real" needs, or visa versa. The church is called to disciple first, and to take care of the sheep!
How much time was spent in prayer?
© 1986, 1988, 1998, completely revised 2002 Richard J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com