A visit to the Doctor
Recently I had a health check with my doctor. I had no reason to think there was anything wrong and I am glad to say his questioning demonstrated that to be the case. Nevertheless, as he asked me questions about my life-style, sleep patterns and so on it caused me to think about things I had never considered.
Further, I have a close friend who is involved in Human Resources. Occasionally I spend time with him and encourage him to ask me difficult questions! As he enquires about my work/life balance, about my marriage and so on, issues are raised that are well worth considering. I benefit from both exercises.
Ministry in the church can be like that. We can become so deeply involved in the day-to-day matters that we tend not to stand back and look at things more objectively. Do we ask the difficult questions? Are we really achieving the benefits we like to think we are? Are we keeping Jesus at the centre of all we do? Are we keeping faithful to the values that he has impressed on us? There are many other questions we could ask, but these illustrate the point.
When working with people who are poor or disadvantaged it is very easy to get so immersed in their situations that we find it hard to stand back and take an objective overview of the ministry we are carrying out. The purpose of the Ministry Health Check is to help you take that objective view.
What is a Ministry Health Check?
Built around the Key Indicators presented in previous blogs (Sept – Oct 2009) the Ministry Health Check is designed to help you assess your ministry objectively against a plumbline of good practice. Typically it should be carried out at significant stages in the progress of the ministry, perhaps annually, by the whole team meeting together.
To do this I recommend that people try to go to a neutral environment for a couple of days. It is important to have unhurried time to carry out the Health Check as it will raise issues that need to be discussed and prayed over. Inevitably it will raise issues that have not previously been considered and there will also be differences of opinion among the team members that will need to be discussed in order to maximise the benefits of the exercise. I will give some guidelines on carrying out the discussions in a later posting.
Since the Key Indicators were first presented there have been some revisions, and so I reproduce these Indicators below. The first list of eight (‘A’) reflects Indicators that are peculiar to the Christian context. The second (‘B’) apply to any practitioner.
A1 Apostolically endorsed.
A2 Local church eldership oversight.
A3 Hearing God.
A4 Clear vision.
A5 Gospel impact.
A6 Individuals changed from poverty to active mission.
A7 Intentional extension of the Kingdom.
A8 Clearly defined with Biblical principles.
B1 Project Cycle Management.
B3 Mature leadership.
B4 Responding to gifting/passion.
B5 Pastoral support.
B9 Local community ownership.
B11 Scaling up and multiplication.
B12 Use of God-given Resources.
In the next posting I shall consider how these may be used particularly for evaluating existing ministries.