HOW TO START A MINISTRY IN YOUR CHURCH
WHAT IS A CHURCH MINISTRY?
A church ministry is a group of people who operate collectively provide assistance to others. This might include serving in your community, spreading awareness of a problem, or providing care for the sick and elderly.
Ministries are usually centered around a specific mission or purpose, though some ministries exist simply to support the broader goals of their church community.
While smaller churches might only concentrate on one or two topics at a time, many major churches have a variety of ministries.
HOW TO START A CHURCH MINISTRY?
So you want to start a new ministry! We’re excited for you and we’re here to help you think through the process. Whether it’s a new youth group, Bible study, or traveling singing juggling puppet ministry, there are a few questions you’ll need to answer in order to create a ministry action plan before you start.
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR MINISTRY TARGET AUDIENCE
“Everyone” isn’t the answer. If you try to create a church ministry that’s designed for “everyone” (every age, background, interest, etc.) you’ll end up creating a ministry for almost no one. You need to narrow down your audience to who you are most passionate about helping.
Niche is better. Find your niche and define it well. This will help you in ministry planning as well as helping your audience connect with you. Use the questions below to help define your target audience:
- Are they kids? Teenagers? Young adults? Adults?
- Are they churched? Unchurched? Church-curious? Formerly churched people who’ve since left?
- What is your audience interested in? What do they like? What do they listen to? Where do they get their entertainment or news? What social media platforms do they use? Etc.
It can be helpful to create a fictional example of someone in your ministry target audience in order to help you better define your niche.
STEP 2: DEFINE YOUR MINISTRY GOAL
Of course, your goal probably has something to do with the gospel. That’s great! But let’s get a little more specific to help you in your planning process. Work through these questions to help make your ministry goal clear.
- What is the thing you do that no one else does?
- What do you care about that is unique to you?
- What will your ministry do that’s unlike anything else?
- What are you for? What do you support? What do you stand for?
- Why does the world need you, specifically, to exist?
- What need will you meet that has not yet been met?
In order to know how to start a ministry, you have to understand why you are starting a church ministry. Once you define your goals, add them to your ministry action plan.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY YOUR MINISTRY PARTNERS
You are only one person and can’t do everything! Someone needs to be brought in, other than you, possibly several people. Who shares your passion in starting a new ministry that would work well with you? Think through some possibilities of who might join your team:
- Is it a local church? Several local churches?
- Is it a denomination?
- Could it be a school district?
- Could you partner with another ministry?
Maybe it starts with you and a couple of other ministry supporters, but still think through the larger possibilities as the ministry grows.
STEP 4: DETERMINE WHAT WILL YOU DO IN YOUR MINISTRY
Depending on what kind of church ministry you plan to create, what exactly you’ll do will depend on your goals and structure. Our Grow strategy is to consider the following 7 key strategy areas of ministry.
- What’s your plan for the year? What does a year of church ministry look like? What’s on the calendar and why is it there? How is everything you’re planning going to push you toward your goal?
- By setting aside one day for an annual meeting, you can plan out a full year of ministry, which can help ensure that you will be able to secure the resources you need as you are starting a new ministry, plus keep things running smoothly. And you can spend the year focused on actually running the ministry rather than the startup planning.
- Will someone in your ministry be teaching Scripture in some way? Chances are, yes! So what’s your strategy for teaching? What will you teach and when? Who will teach it? How will you teach it?
- By planning the teaching strategy of a new church ministry, you won’t risk missing big important ideas, teaching only the topics that interest you most, or failing to give kids and teenagers a full and holistic view of God.
- Teaching a few sermons or lessons about the Bible isn’t going to disciple anyone. Do you have a holistic approach to discipling people who want to be discipled?
- Talk about your big-picture discipleship strategy. Then break the year down into 4 quarters and assign one spiritual habit to each quarter in order to help your ministry group grow spiritually throughout the year.
- You’re probably going to meet with the people in your ministry every week, month, or quarter. So what will you do when you’re together? What’s the structure of your program? Is it engaging? Is it helpful? Is it fun?
- Determine the big-picture of ministry programming for your ministry action plan, which will differ according to which age group you’re focusing on, and then you can start working on some interesting weekly programming (like special songs, activities, or experiences) to enhance each month’s topic.
- You may want to plan some special events outside your regular programming. So what are they? Are they strategic or are they just filling up your calendar? How do they push you toward your goal?
- You can make a bigger impact by having fewer events with more strategy, so don’t stress about having to plan out too many events at once! Try starting a new ministry with a goal of one event per quarter.
- You can’t (and shouldn’t try to) do this alone! So who’s on your team? How will you recruit them? Train them? Retain them? What are their roles? Who’s leading alongside you? Who are you empowering to lead in significant ways? Is this about a team or is it about you?
- When thinking about starting a church ministry, you’ll need to decide how many volunteers you’ll need and who you may need to reach out to. And when planning your year of investment in new volunteers, you’re going to need to consider volunteer events, meetings, discussion groups, one-on-one conversations, communication, and more.
- If you’re working with kids, teenagers, or adults with kids, teenagers, or spouses, don’t forget to think about the whole family unit. Your ministry shouldn’t only impact an individual, but should consider how it can care for and support that individual’s family.
- If your ministry involves children or teens, you’ll want to consider how to engage the parents. And if your ministry audience is adults, you’ll want to keep the whole family unit in mind as you make plans.
STEP 5: SPECIFY HOW WILL YOUR MINISTRY OUTLAST YOU
Why are you starting a new ministry? Is it because you’ve seen a need that no one else has met? Who is at the center of your vision? Is it you? Or is it others?
The only way to build a ministry that will outlast you is to build a ministry that doesn’t depend on you to exist. Don’t put yourself at the center. Empower others. Don’t constantly spotlight yourself. Embrace collaboration and teamwork. Get comfortable in the background. Let your ministry be driven by the mission we all share.
As you think through how to start a ministry and think through your ministry action plan, work through the sections above, one by one, to keep from getting overwhelmed. Pull in helpers – ministry is about serving others and you don’t have to do it all yourself! We look forward to helping you learn how to build a ministry that grows.
Our Grow Curriculum and Strategy can give you all of the resources and information you need to go about starting a new church ministry the right way. Let us help ease the burden as you focus on your passion to serve others through your ministry.
The Grow Team
A team packed with pastors, ministry leaders, writers, editors, designers, project managers, app developers, and more! The Grow Team works to bring curriculum and ministry strategy to church leaders everywhere.