Category: Ministry

Holistic ministry on a napkin

I found a napkin this morning with some good words on them. I, unfortunately, do not know who spoke them so my apologies for the lack of attribution. Here are the notes:

In order to minister holistically in a fallen world…

1) You need a transcendent vision from God. … You must believe change is possible. … You have to have a vision that goes beyond captivity.

2) The vision must come in the midst of concrete historical reality. … It has to speak to your situation. … Context is the interrelated connections.

3) Prophetic integrity. … Sometimes you need to speak from the perspective of God to the structures of society.

4) Incarnational. … Ezekiel 3:13

5) Paradox in ministry (and I have no idea what this was about)

End of napkin. If anyone knows who is the source, please let me and anyone else who sees this know.

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CCDA: Ministry Effectiveness

I arrived late for Amy Sherman’s workshop titled “Measure Your Ministry’s Effectiveness,” but I still picked up a few general helpful comments.

Of course, there was the obvious: Set specific goals and measure progress.

Here’s something I think a lot of us need to hear: Donors want more than anecdotes. They want to know outcomes. They want to answer the “So what?” question.

For our churches, “donors” translates to “members.”

Ask questions like, How many… how long or intense were your efforts? … What exactly did you do?

In the end, donors really want to know what difference your ministry made.

Outcomes: A target audience’s CHANGED or improved skills, attitudes or knowledge by participating in your program.

To measure the outcomes you must discover indicators, the observable evidences of those looked –for accomplishments, changes or gains.

Example: Do a pre and post test.

Some indicators are easy to measure/obtain. Others are challenging.

Schools will have reading scores, grades, attendance records.

For the harder-to-measure stuff, where do we go?… In our ministries, we usually want to see ooshee-gushee things like transformation that are difficult to measure.

Self-reported data is better than no data.

Casey Life Skills Assessment is online and free… available in English and Spanish… It’s for tweens and teens (I think)… It generates self-reported data and some third-party data…. It captures hard data and soft data… Casey will generate aggragate data results… Casey is not a Christian or spiritual group… Other tools are needed for that…. this might also work OK with younger adults, but leader should check and see if questions are appropriate to their group….

You can come up with your only template to access your progress.

Challenge: Though ministry leaders may “do the right things” (e.g., holistic, relational, ministry), they may not have the reasearch evidence at their fingertips to “back up” the value of their approach.

Here are some sources for Best Practice info:

1) Fasten’s Best Practice Checklists (fasten.org)… topically oriented summations drawn from literature reviews of evaluations/reports/studies

2) “Trade Associations” or Research Institutes in your social service field (like CCDA)… Christian Community Health Fellowship….

3) The Search Institutes’s “40 Developmental Assets” … 40 key factors that affect a youth’s ability to thrive. The more assets a youth has, the less likely she is to engage in risk behaviors and the more likely she is to exhibit positives behaviors and attitudes…. foundations are really into these paradigms….

Good things in Gulf Coast Association

Yesterday, I spent a wonderful day in the Angleton/Freeport area of Texas visiting some of the ministries funded by Texas Baptists.

I started the day with Bobby Fuller, director of the Texas Port Ministry in Freeport. In recent years they’ve expanded the ministry to target the entire Freeport Port community, including truckers, longshoremen and others who support the shipping industry. Of course, they’re still ministering to seaman from around the world who come to the port. Bobby and his crew of more than 50 volunteers are doing a great job.

Bobby is a missionary of the North American Mission Board. He worked in the port area as an inspector for years and served an area church as minister of education. Now, those past experiences are coming together in Bobby’s current work. He has a real understanding of strategic vision and great skills at organizing. Southern Baptists and Texas Baptists are blessed to be involved in this great kingdom ministry through Bobby.