The True Cost of Ministry

Pastor Carey Nieuwhof shares about the tensions facing pastors of small and mid-sized churches.
5 Real Tensions Every Small to Mid-Sized Church Leader Feels
February 4, 2020
Pastor Aaron Buer shares how key being encouraging is to those that work in ministry.
How to Be a Chief Encouraging Officer At Your Church
February 11, 2020

The True Cost of Ministry

Pastor Josh talks about the true cost of ministry which goes beyond financial resources.

reshared with kind permission from Josh Reich.

Picture this, your church just pulled off a big event, and you are sitting in a room evaluating it and deciding if it was a success.

The answers are often dependent on how excited you were before the event and during it — the number of people who attended, people who became Christians, or how you experienced the event.

Then someone asks, “Do we do this again next year?”

Now, if you are smart, you would stop the conversation at this point.

Churches are notorious for throwing money after things they’ve done before or something that someone else started without asking if it is worthwhile.

Most of the time, the question of worth boils down to the budget number on that white sheet of paper.

But what most elder teams and staffs miss is that the cost of an event or ministry is not just what is on that piece of paper. It includes that, but it is much more than that.

Here are a few questions you should ask as you evaluate an event or ministry:

How much did we pay staff to be there? When churches think about events, outreach, Christmas Eve, etc. they rarely factor in what they pay the team for the event. But this is a cost. Take whatever last big event your church did, add up all the staff hours, and what those staff members get paid per hour. That is a cost to your church for that event or ministry.

Now, it might be worth it.

But as a smart leader, you have to calculate that.

Let me throw another example out. Think back to the last meeting you had at your church. How many staff members attended? How much do they get paid per hour? Was that meeting worth what your church spent to have those staff members there? Did anyone check their email during the meeting? Social media?

What we pay staff members to do is a direct reflection of how we view stewardship as a church.

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How many volunteer hours were spent on something? When it comes to a significant event or outreach at any church, hundreds and possibly thousands of volunteer hours will be taken up.

Those volunteer hours are hours that will not be spent on something else.

So, how can you make sure you don’t waste them? How do you make sure that it is worth it?

Many times, we don’t ask these questions; we plan an event and throw out the call for volunteers.

But why would they want to attend and help out? You must make sure that you attach a strong vision for something and make sure everyone knows why you are doing something.

What didn’t get done or got pushed back because of this event? No matter how amazing your staff is, when you pull off a big event or outreach, something won’t get done. That might be in terms of songs written, videos made, graphics produced, lessons, recruiting, or training might fall by the wayside.

Just like everything else on this list, that isn’t a bad thing — just something you have to factor in.

As best as you can, before hitting the yes button on something, try to list out what might get sacrificed because of something. Will there be an area of ministry that will suffer because of what you are trying to pull off? The reality is that something will fall off, but you have to factor that into the cost of something.

What was the wear and tear in terms of energy? One thing churches rarely ask is, “Is this the right season to do this?”

Churches fall into the trap of “we did this last year, so we have to do this again this year.” But what if you don’t have the bandwidth, energy, finances? Some years you can take a year off from something. There were times that Jesus walked away from the crowds and times that he walked into them. Both are acceptable and right at the right moment.

But just because you did something last year does not mean you need to do it this year.

Are you launching a campus? A new service? Did you hire several new staff members? What is the burnout rate of your team?

Remember, when you did it the first time or last time, that was a different season. Just like a family must continuously ask if now is the right season for this, so does a church.

What is one event or goal where the cost may be outweighing the benefits?
For previous articles on leadership, go here.
For more from Joshua Reich visit here. 

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