During my first two years in college I worked part time in retail. If you’ve ever worked retail one of the things you probably hated was taking inventory. It was so frustrating to try to find the things you were supposed to have, but somehow those things ended up missing.
It is so important for us as leaders in ministry to know what we have and to know what’s missing. Have you ever taken a ministry inventory at your church? I’d like to encourage you to do this exercise with your team or with your volunteer leaders. Personally, I make it a part of the strategic planning process here at Hope Summit. For us, our ministry inventory revolves around the three parts of our vision:
1. Intimacy with God – list every ministry, activity, event, and experience the people in the church, our church staff, and volunteers have been part of in the last year that contributed to developing intimacy with God. If this area is lacking it will often result in mature Christians being discontent and misunderstanding our purpose. Environments that lend themselves to spiritual growth can be developed for new Christians and mature believers. I believe if leaders can work together both can be offered in every church.
2. Community within the church – list every ministry, activity, event, and experience the church, our church staff, and volunteers have been part of in the last year that contributed to developing community. If this area is lacking it will often result in people feeling disconnected or lost in the crowds. This can happen as a small church becomes a mid-size church (and as mid-size churches grow even larger) if the leadership is not intentional at creating environments friendly to building relationships.
3. Influence outside the church – list every ministry, activity, event, and experience the where we are providing opportunities for influencing our community and individuals for Christ. If this area is lacking it often will result in a few people far from God meeting Jesus and an overall lack of church growth.
After creating these lists the next step is evaluation. When looking at the result of the inventory are you surprised by what you see? Is there balance between these three areas or are there major differences between the three?
At Hope Summit I desire to see balance between all three areas. Think of it like three legs of a stool. If one leg is out of whack it makes it difficult to maintain balance and you would notice the instability. You would probably discard the stool and move on to another one that provided a firm place to sit.
Our churches need to be a place of stability. That means we are providing balanced enviornments of intimacy, community, and influence.