The congregation knows what it wants to do. The leaders have spent a lot of time outlining goals and completing a ministry plan. But now comes the hard part — how exactly are they going to do it? That’s where the Commission on Congregational Counseling comes in. Through its new Ministry Organization and Staffing Evaluation (MOSE) program, the commission helps congregations assess and evaluate their ministry plans and provides recommendations for carrying them out.
“A lot of congregations have a ministry plan and goals for the year, but most don’t break those goals down into steps and have people assigned to tasks with due dates,” says Rev. Jon Hein, director of the Commission on Congregational Counseling. “We help congregations think through their ministry in terms of human resources and how much time it will take.”
Hein says this is a very helpful process, since one of the biggest barriers facing congregations is time – both understanding how it’s currently being utilized, and being realistic about how much it will take to carry out their ministry plans. So Hein starts by giving the pastor a sheet to track the time he spends on current ministry. “It’s good for the pastor and the congregation to see how much time everything really takes,” he says.
The results can be very eye-opening. For example, one congregation learned that their pastor was logging nearly 90 hours per week. “I interviewed the lay leaders, and they knew he was getting burned out,” he says. “They told me, ‘We need our pastor to let go of some things, but we don’t know where, or how, or if he’s comfortable with it.’ So that’s my job – to give them some options.” After learning that the pastor was doing all of the shut-in, hospital and evangelism calls, Hein recommended training congregation members to help with some of those visits. “The congregation was all on board; they got it,” he says. “They just needed to go through this process to crystallize things in their head.”
After a congregation’s current activities are analyzed, the next step is to look at their ministry plans. If a congregation finds they don’t have enough time to carry out their plans, Hein provides recommendations about how to fill that gap — either by scaling back the plans or increasing manpower. Not surprisingly, many congregations want to fill the gap by mobilizing volunteers — and Hein says one of the best ways to do that is by creating detailed job descriptions for each role.
“If you tell people exactly what you expect of them and how much time it will take, and if they can see the purpose and the vision, they’ll consider getting involved,” says Hein. He also recommends actively recruiting people for service, instead of posting sign-up sheets for volunteers. “Don’t just have an open call for ministry,” he says. “Be aggressive. If your congregation uses a spiritual gifts inventory, you can look at that and find out which people to talk to. Then ask them face-to-face.”
Once the MOSE program is complete, each congregation receives a report with detailed recommendations — and then the congregation works to implement them. Hein says he hopes this program will not only help congregations expand their ministry, but also encourage more members to use their spiritual gifts. “People can serve God just as well in their personal life, by being good parent, or neighbor, or employee,” he says. “So if they are going to give additional time to the church, they want to know it’s time well spent. And that requires planning.”
The Commission on Congregational Counseling also provides counseling for congregations in the early stages of ministry planning – either through the Self-Assessment and Adjustment program or School of Strategic Planning events. For more information, visit wels.net/serving-you/christian-life/congregational-counseling.
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Volume 103, Number 06
Issue: June 2016
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