How to “Up the Odds” of a Successful Ministry Startup

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Ever seen the statistics for the failure rates for new businesses? According to some studies upwards of 40% or more of new businesses don’t make it past the 4 year mark. Restaurant failures are closer to 90%.

Sometimes, it seems, the odds are not much better for new ministries launched in the church.

While there are no guarantees in life, nor in church work, if you start by asking these 3 vital questions I believe you can increase your odds of ministry success considerably.

1.   Is there a leader in the house?

A successful ministry never starts with a great idea; it starts with a great leader.

Sometimes in church leadership a week won’t go by without three or four people saying to you something like, “Hey, my sister’s church has a ministry to pre-teen, unwed homeless puppies. We should have one too.”

Maybe you should, and maybe you shouldn’t. All I know is this.

Don’t make a move without a passionate, driven leader set to take the reins.

2.   Have we identified where the energy will come from?

When a new ministry is launched it requires energy. This includes, but is not limited to, the necessary financial resources, volunteer base, staff involvement, communication efforts, facility allocations and even your own leadership horsepower.

And that energy cannot be created with a wave of your magical leadership wand.

It comes only by diverting energy away from other ministries.

Lining up the required energy flow well in advance can enhance your success.

3.   Is this “who we are”?

Several years ago in the church where I served as executive pastor, we had an opportunity to launch a skateboard ministry. We soon learned that we had no business being in the skateboard game. While we attracted hundreds of kids, the culture of our church provided no opportunity to disciple the skaters who made decisions for Christ.

Be clear on who God has called your church to be, and let this call guide your decisions.

In local church work there are few things more gratifying than to see a ministry soar. And there can be few things more discouraging than to see ministries flounder.

Try applying these questions at the startup phase.

Your odds could improve dramatically.

How do you ensure the success of startup ministries?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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