Stew on This: Do You Measure Ministry Effectiveness?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely looking at your church and wondering, “Is this ministry effective?” You aren’t the only one. The difficulty of measuring ministry effectiveness is cited as a top struggle for pastors in various studies, articles, and blogs. Marshall Shelley, the director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Denver Seminary, suggested that the most obvious indicator of effective ministry is that people’s lives are being transformed.1
How does a church operate efficiently to be sure that lives are being transformed? Dr. Jim Laub, is the author of the Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA). OLA is a heavily researched model of servant leadership. He identified six disciplines that when practiced make for effective leadership and a successful organization. These key areas of organizational and leadership practice are critical to achieving optimal organizational health.
Below is a brief overview of the six disciplines of an effective organization. High performance in these areas is a strong indicator of organizational effectiveness.
How to Measure Ministry Effectiveness: 6 Disciplines of Organizational Health
- Providing leadership –
This involves establishing vision and direction. Paint a clear picture of the preferred future. Consider the dreams and aspirations of those you lead. They need to see themselves in the picture. Test your vision with them and be open to their input. Articulate the vision clearly, deliver it passionately, and implement it relentlessly. Do all you can to free yourself from operational management. That will enable you to champion the vision and develop strategies to fulfill the mission. Solid leadership equates to group effectiveness.
- Building community –
Healthy relationships result in organizational enjoyment and effectiveness. Partnership, collaboration, and teamwork are terms that describe community. But they need to be more than words. Genuine caring, understanding each other’s needs, embracing differences, and personal presence (being engaged) are strong indicators of a healthy community.
- Valuing people –
Listen to, trust, and serve those you lead. These actions communicate the team is valued. If leaders and members of the church are valuing each other, that is a sign of effectiveness.
- Displaying authenticity –
At its core, leadership is a trust relationship between the leader and the person or people being led. To be authentic is to be real (open, honest, and unmasked). Leaders and followers are on the same level playing field, so we all learn from each other. Leading with authenticity sets the example for others to follow. An authentic church body leads to an effective ministry.
- Developing people –
Does the church provide learning opportunities and involve people in the decisions that directly affect them? Deliver encouragement and affirmation. These actions help people improve in what they do, as well as advance them in the level of their responsibilities. Everyone needs appreciation; recognize the contributions of others. Give public praise and know how to celebrate victories.
- Sharing leadership –
Effective leaders consider themselves a resource rather than a director. Impactful leaders see those they lead as partners. Sharing leadership involves dispersing power and decision-making authority, creating an environment where people are free to take initiative, and deferring to others who have more expertise.
Churches and leaders must be intentional about these six disciplines if they are to be effective.
- Marshall Shelley, “Can Effectiveness in Ministry Be Measured?,” CT Pastors, accessed June 26, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2000/october-online-only/cln01011.html.
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If you’re a church leader, pastor, or the leader of a non-profit organization, are you looking for leadership training or team development help? Thanks to the backing of a generous foundation, LifeEquip is able to offer leadership and organizational training at highly reduced rates to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Some LifeEquip services include pastoral coaching, OLA, Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, and Lead Like Jesus.
- Adjunct Professor of Theology and Leadership
- Certified as a Human Behavior Consultant
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- Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) Partner
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