Charting a New Course for Your Ministry

Flexibility and innovation are central pillars of the modern-day church. Sticking to traditions has some benefits, but is your history holding you back? Staying fresh and relevant to your community and congregants relies on a willingness to assess and adapt to new challenges and requirements.Regular pruning is a must-do process to ensure you aren’t wasting resources on that which no longer bears fruit. Often, churches feel held back from charting a course or starting a new project because attention is tied up elsewhere. Check out this blog for more tips on navigating the divine pruning process.

Chris Holland
July 25, 2022
Kids Ministry Curriculum

5 Ways to Be Prepared for Change 

If you feel ready to start something new at your church ministry, follow these foolproof tips to ensure you are prepared for anything.

1. Consider the Wider Vision

Thinking about the ministry vision while in an outdoor retreat

Before you chart a new course at your ministry, ask the essential questions that help you assess the wider vision. Consider how this new course slots into your church’s mission to ensure you change things in the right way.

  • How will you do it? 
  • Who will it serve? 
  • What are some of the positive outcomes you hope to see? 
  • Are there any problems that might arise?

The answers to these questions help you design a roadmap to the final outcome, transforming your idea into an action plan. Orange Leaders outlines vision as a combination of these three things:

Problem – A description of why things are not okay now

Solution – A description of the plan to fix it

Urgency – A passionate plea for why this matters now

2. Translate It Into a Plan

Crafting a ministry plan

Planning will be a whole lot easier with your hopes, dreams, and goals outlined in the vision. Have a launch date so you can plan your timeline accordingly, and set smaller goals to reach along the way. You won’t be able to make your overarching goal a reality overnight, but there are steps you can take today to see results in real-time.

3. Have the Necessary Supplies

Supplies for children's ministry course

Preparedness starts with having the resources to navigate choppy shores. So stock up on valuable resources whether they are mental, spiritual, or physical. Write a list of everything you need to help you gather all you might require. Don’t feel limited by what you can jot down either, as strength and versatility are just as valid as new Bibles and a digital signage solution. 

Similarly, if your new course is about expansion, you will need to look into new sites for your church. ‘Supplies’ in this sense are not limited to the physical. Take extra time to pray before charting a course for your church and steering it in a new direction to ensure you are in peak spiritual condition and are ready for the challenge.

4. Gather a Trustworthy Crew

Discussing the new course with selected crew

A team is only as strong as its weakest member, so make sure the quality of your crew is up to scratch before you embark on a new journey. Cultivate close relationships with seasoned sailors who value their bond with God to boost your chance of success. Pruning also extends to people in your team, so if you feel it is the right time to let someone go, do it before you begin charting a new course.

God did not intend for us to go it alone. After all, Jesus was surrounded by the support of his dedicated disciples. Church leaders must find the same refuge and never venture into open waters alone if they plan to chart their own course, so make sure the people who lead alongside you at your church are genuine, kind, loyal, and most importantly – share the same vision. 

5. Communicate the Course

Communicating ministry course with leadership team

If you want your church to be on board with the new direction you are taking for your church, they need to know about and understand it. Get them excited about the overall vision so they want to join you in the moment of change. Talk about it so much that the new course feels like second nature to all your congregants before you even mention an action plan.

People can feel scared of change, especially if things have always been done in a certain way. So if you inform them of your plan in a way that suggests it's already in motion, they may feel trapped and powerless, so they resist. 

Barriers to change are easy to understand, so be aware and treat them with caution. You will only gain the respect of your community by demonstrating that you value their opinions too. 

Charting a New Course

Ministry leader teaching her new course

Being the leader of a changing church is no easy feat. When you dare to change the status quo, you put yourself up for scrutiny and are the person to blame if anything goes wrong. However, this doesn’t mean inaction is a good thing. If we sit by and watch as our church declines and stagnates, we are the ones to blame for its demise. 

Be a good church leader by identifying ways your church could be more successful and implementing them. Taking the pruning process seriously means thinking on a larger scale about what course your church is currently on. 

If you feel unsure that charting a new course is the right move for your ministry, pray, reflect, and ask trusted people what they think. The answer will become clear.

Check out this blog if you want to learn more about navigating the troublesome waters of guiding your church through a change. After all, a church is like a living organism, and its pastor is simply the guide.

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