Some churches start new ministries by purchasing a prepackaged program that has been used successfully.  Such an approach is fraught with challenges and difficulties.  Every ministry designed from scratch is created in a specific context.  That means in a particular ministry setting with very specific resources, dynamics, experience and mission.  Unless the next group using this ministry has a context that mirrors the first, there is no guarantee that it success in the first setting will be replicated in the next.

Far better in almost every case is a ministry designed from the beginning for a specific setting.  We often resist doing that, however, because we believe we lack the creativity and leadership necessary.  Better to borrow and tweak.

Most churches, however, can create a new ministry uniquely suited to its setting and capable by the Spirit’s empowerment to be fruitful.

There are some simple planning questions that can guide this creative process.

1. What is the purpose of the ministry you are attempting to create?  Be specific.

2. Who is the specific target (or beneficiary of this ministry)?  Name names of real people.

3. What kind of leadership gifts and passions will be needed to accomplish this?  Again, be specific.

4. What other resources will this require? Space, time, money, workers.

5. How will we know this ministry is successful? By what fruit will you measure it?

6. Is this the right time?

And, of course, all of this needs to be pervaded with prayer.


  1. I love this! Especially working in church plants, there is the temptation to just grab resources and ministry frameworks that have been successful in other contexts. Once someone said “Becky builds cool children’s ministry.” and I stopped them and said “No, I create contextual children’s ministry; sometimes it turns out cool!”

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