The Most Important Decision to Lead By: Ministry Means or Ministry Ends

If you aren’t clear on your ministry ends you will always measure your ministry means. Think about it. If it’s easy to confuse ends and means than this becomes the most important distinction to lead by. I hate to break it to you as ministry leaders, but leading in the church is the MOST difficult environment to maintain this clarity.

How can immediately know where you stand with this distinction? If you don’t have clear language for both ministry means and ministry ends, you will necessarily be measuring means only.

For example, a ministry means is a small group. If your church has small groups you will have some language for this environment— home teams, life groups, etc. Ministry ends, on the other hand, is what that small group should produce, or facilitate or aim at in the life of an individual. Do your group leaders know the ministry ends for a small group?

  • Have you every clarified your ministry ends as a church?
  • What kind of disciple is your church designed to produce?
  • Have you ever measured anything other than attendance and giving?
  • What are the God results and spiritual output that you are really after?
  • Do you think attendance alone is an adequate way to assess the accomplishment of the mission?

There is actually an entire world of articulating and living into ministry ends. It’s the most freeing thing a ministry leader can ever experience. Do you stop measuring means? Of course not. You still count how many people you have in groups. But you count other stuff as well. You count…

  • How many 2:00am friends people have?
  • How many people have experienced meaningful accountability?
  • How many leaders have mentored other leaders?
  • Who in your life has “refrigerator rights?”
  • The confidence level of sharing the gospel?
  • How many people have crossed a cultural boundary for Jesus?
  • The level fulfillment of being a missionary in the workplace?

Lead with the end in mind.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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