Two common misconceptions frequent church ministry planning processes. The first is that resources are limited to incremental adjustments from the most recent results. This is a misconception for two reasons: it does not give credit and glory to God for His unlimited resources to fulfill His purposes; and, it does not account for the dynamics of vision. The second misconception is that each ministry is in some sort of kind and gracious Christian competition with each other for resources. Ministry leaders think their ministry is the center of the universe and should receive more time, attention, finances, manpower, etc.
These misconceptions and the tension they bring, whether overt or covert, are resolved by understanding and keeping focus on the central purpose of the church. If missions and outreach is not the core and heartbeat of every ministry, then the church begins to become ingrown, shortsighted, maintenance-minded. The Nursery should have a vision for the families of the children for whom they provide care. The Sunday School classes should be consciously trying to reach the families and friends of their students. The Youth should be actively witnessing and discipling other youth. The Choir should have a mindset that they lead people to worship a worthy God, just as should be done in all the world. Missions-connectedness should permeate every ministry so that it seems natural that children and youth would aspire to become missionaries, young adults and adults would be seeking greater and greater involvement in the Great Commission for themselves and their families. When church ministries have a philosophy of ministry that puts a missions-heart at the core of the purpose of their existence, the competitive spirit becomes one of cooperation and collaboration. Resources are driven by vision and faith in God to fulfill His purposes.
The purpose of our church ministries is NOT to create the biggest, best [fill in the blank] ministry. It is to give God glory by seeking to fulfill His purposes for the church, and that keeps “discipling the nations” as central to every ministry.