Tailoring Your Ministry

Kent Shaffer —  October 27, 2008

Here is a summary from my second session at the Internet Ministry Conference called “Tailored Internet Ministry.”

Ministry is exciting. I am excited and passionate about my own calling. And I get excited about other’s success stories as they pursue their own callings.

Yet with all of the excitement, I must be careful that my feelings do not make me think that what works for another ministry will automatically work for my ministry.

Just because someone else’s calling is exciting, does not mean that I should make their calling my calling.

I think we all can agree with that statement.

But unfortunately, this copying mindset often plagues ministries. I see too many churches and too many ministries pursuing the exciting, the successful, the cool, the hyped, the trendy, and any other shiny thing that catches their eye rather than pursuing something that is more aligned with their calling.

Copying is not a cure-all solution. Copying makes people say,

If we could just be like…

If our website was just like…

If our marketing was just like…

UNIQUE CALLINGS

Although there may be ministries similar to yours, keep in mind that there is no ministry that is an exact copy of your ministry. No other ministry has the same calling as your ministry. Your calling is a unique formula of your passions, gifts, values, abilities, timing, place, and people you will reach.

As 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 explains, we each have our own unique mission, our own unique role to play in the Body of Christ.

Imagine if your foot started doing the hand’s job. In the big picture, the master plan would fail because each part of the body has a specific function.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
1 Peter 4:10

It does not say use someone else’s gift. It says use your gift.

3 REASONS NOT TO COPY

  1. Copying limits you from reaching your full potential.
    If you are copying, your methods are not customized to your ministry’s unique context, and consequently, you will fall short of your full potential.
  2. Copying can misguide you to someone else’s mission.
    Whether copying a church or a corporation, copying will likely give you the results for their mission. Copying something that you do not understand the reasoning behind is dangerous because you make be achieving the opposite of what you hope to achieve.
  3. It may no longer work.
    (1) It may be oversaturated. If everybody is doing it, people have probably become desensitized to it. Oversaturated methods are just clutter and noise.
    (2) It may be obsolete. Because intersecting cultures create innovation which creates communication breakthroughs which creates more cultures and speeds up the evolution of cultures, what used to work may no longer work because it could be obsolete.

COPYING VS. TAILORING

Inspiration is good. But it is what you do with inspiration that matters.

You can copy what inspires you.
You can tailor what inspires you.

Some things can not be tailored. You need to understand the science behind things in order to know if it can be tailored to your ministry.

8 STEPS FOR TAILORING YOUR MINISTRY

  1. Write your mission down.
  2. Review your mission.
  3. Study who God has called you to reach. (science of culture)
  4. Determine the best ways to reach them. (science of methods)
  5. Do it.
  6. Reevaluate.
  7. Tweak.
  8. Repeat.

For more thoughts about Internet ministry, see the notes from my first session – “All You Need to Know About Internet Ministry Marketing in 72 Questions.”

Kent Shaffer

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I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.

4 responses to Tailoring Your Ministry

  1. great article – we can only be ourselves!… i linked this article to New Church Report to share with others..

    Scott Linklater
    http://www.newchurchreport.com

  2. This is very important information. Copying can really sometime create great trouble.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. All You Need to Know About Internet Ministry Marketing in 72 Questions | churchrelevance.com - October 27, 2008

    [...] Here is the outline from my first session at the Internet Ministry Conference. Stay tuned for the sequel to this session – “Tailored Internet Ministry.” [...]

  2. The Marshian Chronicles » Short Rounds #104 - October 31, 2008

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