Beginning a new ministry

On Tuesday The Point launched a new initiative for young adults. Despite the fact that many of our school leavers depart PMac for the university towns, God has given us a community of young adults who love Jesus. They are a diverse group with a real mixture of uni, tafe and workers whose home is our town.

The first thing you need for a new initiative is an idea. This is where those creative people who can think outside the box come to the fore. They see the opportunity and have that unique ability to dream up something that ‘could work’. These ideas are rarely new. But the ideas person can choose the new idea for the opportunity. Lucky we have one of those in PH.

The next step is to set the vision for the initiative. Why should our people join us on this adventure? It is this step that causes most new initiatives to fail. An idea is not a vision. Vision details the journey we are inviting people to join. Vision details the purpose behind the energy. Vision keeps us clear on Jesus and his mission. Ideas without vision result in initiatives that run out of steam. Clear vision does not guarantee success but it does give the idea a chance.

Three characteristics of a good vision:

1) It fits with the vision of the church. New initiatives must fit in with the overall Church’s strategy to make and grow disciples of Christ. An initiative that conflicts or is superfluous to the Church’s strategy will face problems in ownership and longevity. Our new YA initiative will create a community of young adults. The Church strategy is for all members to be in small groups. Our new YA initiative will be one medium size small group for all our young adults. It will look different to your traditional small group. But it will not differ on the purpose.  As a larger group it will provide a functional community where connection, discipleship and mission will happen. Within the larger group, small groups will form but the primary identity will be the larger community of YA.

2) It has committed leaders committed to the vision. New initiatives depend on the quality and commitment of the leaders. Leaders set the vision, model the vision, and get people on board. We are blessed with a team of leaders for our new initiative. Our goal is to be a team who works hard together. We want to see this community grow in Christ and function together as a powerful force for mission. It would be easy to have 1 guru leader. But this always limits the effect of any new idea.

3) Night one models the vision. New initiatives don’t have time to warm up. They must start how they want to continue. Night one is the moment to share the vision and show the people what they are committing too. It will not be perfect and will continue to be refined over the months. However, all the elements of what the initiative are about must be there. On night one last Tuesday one of the leaders shared a wonderful vision of why we are meeting together. He led us in a time of dependent prayer before our God. He shared his story, openly and courageously to encourage the group to be open and proud of their own faith. He invited ownership from the group in our journey ahead. It was wonderful.

New initiatives are a lot of fun. Sometimes they fail. Sometimes they succeed.  Working hard to be clear and consistent on vision is key to an initiative being a blessing to God’s people.

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2 thoughts on “Beginning a new ministry

    • Hi Mike,
      There are lots of lightweight Church leadership books around. 9 marks of a healthy church, Purpose driven Church, Leadership on the front foot, etc. They are useful for dipping into. There are limitations (cultural, depth etc) with all of them. The secular world has stacks of high quality vision creation material. This is again limited by the goals of a company vs a church.

      The common problems I have seen around the traps is that the Big Church lacks a clear vision that shapes exactly what the church does. I am learning a lot up here about how it is done well. Will show you one day.

      We need to be better at stating a vision. We all agree on mission, discipleship, growing etc – but what does that look like for the local church in the area God has placed us. Getting that clear will enable new initiatives to understand their place (or not) in the whole and help the church be focused.

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