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January 25, 2020

An Integrated Design for Effective Ministry

Buck Jacobs • Work As Ministry
One of the most persistent and vexing challenges we face as Christians attempting to lead our companies as stewards of God's property is the need to keep His values and priorities in the forefront of our decision making processes. It is so easy to slip into looking at our businesses from strictly, or at least predominately, a secular perspective. Almost all of us have been trained to do so. Our culture emphasizes the secular nature of business and almost nowhere are we encouraged otherwise. The force of the opposition to our seeing all of life from God's perspective, hence wisely, is far stronger than most of us realize. Satan knows full well that he cannot steal our salvation, but that does not stop him from doing all he can to render us ineffective in the work God has designed for us to do, and thereby to steal from us our godly heritage and destiny of service to our King. Recognizing this truth is the first step to overcoming many of the problems that it generates.


            One of the most persistent and vexing challenges we face as Christians attempting to lead our companies as stewards of God's property is the need to keep His values and priorities in the forefront of our decision making processes. It is so easy to slip into looking at our businesses from strictly, or at least predominately, a secular perspective. Almost all of us have been trained to do so. Our culture emphasizes the secular nature of business and almost nowhere are we encouraged otherwise. The force of the opposition to our seeing all of life from God's perspective, hence wisely, is far stronger than most of us realize. Satan knows full well that he cannot steal our salvation, but that does not stop him from doing all he can to render us ineffective in the work God has designed for us to do, and thereby to steal from us our godly heritage and destiny of service to our King. Recognizing this truth is the first step to overcoming many of  the problems that it generates.

There are many tools that can be used of course, God provides a variety of practices and strategies that we may utilize to offset the distractions and attacks of the enemy. Staying in close relationship with Him is number one, and all others flow from that key piece. Our purpose today is not to deal with the whole of the problem, or to offer all of the solutions, but to look at one significant part, our ministry in and through our businesses.

In terms of the effective ministry in and through our businesses, one of the most common difficulties we have is a lack of consistency. We tend to run hot or cold. We seem to focus on the ministry function of the business for a while, perhaps make some plans or start some practices, but rather quickly become distracted by something and just leave the ministry part of the business hanging. It is not any one thing that distracts us but a variety. Extremely good business seems to be about as effective as a distraction as extremely bad business. That fact alone just might make one wonder where extra new business might come from. Here's a clue, if it takes us away from ministry it's not from God. God does not work against Himself.

 In any case, for our eternal benefit, it is very helpful if we have built in prompts and practices that remind us of the real purpose of our business and help us to stay on task.

We know, for instance, that in the secular aspects of our businesses that we need to have and use well thought out strategies and plans. We know that we need information and measures. We know we need to know our market and align our strengths with what it wants and needs. We know that we need to innovate and to be creative, and that we can't assume that the way we have done things today and in our history will be good enough to be successful in the future.

We also know that we can't just keep all these things together in our heads, so we write business plans, measure and record results, keep written track of changes, design and write job descriptions and assign responsibilities and accountabilities, and work to be consistent and professional in using these plans and measures. We do these things because we know we need to and that they work.

However, when it comes to ministry we seldom apply the same principles. Ministry in many cases is treated as though it will just happen by itself with little or no preparation, effort, or direction. Most of us will take an opportunity to minister if it pops up in front of us, but only a few of us really make a consistent effort to stimulate or encourage ministry. In fact, if we were to survey our membership, it would not be a bad bet to estimate that 9 out of 10 of us would agree that we are not doing what we wish we were, and know we should, in this dimension of our lives, and know that we really need to be doing more and better to truly be faithful with the opportunity and responsibility that God has given us.

Today we are going to outline a five-step process that we are calling An Integrated Plan For Effective Ministry, and we will also give ourselves a current check up on how we are standing in each component presently.     


                                    An Integrated Plan For Effective Ministry


I- The first component is called: A Mission Statement That Includes and Excites Your Sense Of Ministry The first component needed to have effective ministry in and through our businesses is a Mission Statement that is effective in promoting ministry. We have worked on Mission Statements in past segments and identified several key ingredients. We will list them briefly and add one specific to our discussion.

a-     A good Mission Statement must be inspiring. It needs to excite us in our heart of hearts. Ideally, a good Mission Statement will function in our lives much as the cry "Semper Fi!" functions for a Marine. It says in a few words what grips us and moves us to action. (Samples of effective Mission Statements are available from The C12 Group.)

b-     A good Mission Statement needs to be short and easy to remember. If it is too long it will be unworkable. It needs to be concise, perhaps one sentence, two at the most.

c-     A good Mission Statement must be constructed so that it may be used as a decision making tool, an arbiter, so that the decisions needed to operate the business accordingly can be measured by it. A Mission Statement that is not used routinely in the decision making processes of a business is diminished in effectiveness to the degree that it is not used. A really good Mission Statement permeates an organization and is used to guide the actions and decisions even to the lowest levels of the organization.   

d-    In the context of the C12  Group, a good Mission Statement must reflect your heart, the heart of the leader. If you don't own it no one else will own it either.

e-     Finally, and additionally to what we have emphasized before, a good Mission Statement must include and excite your sense of ministry. Having a Mission Statement that talks about quality and excellence and relationships and service is great, but will primarily touch the secular part of the business. Somehow, a truly effective Mission Statement needs to stir our hearts for the main purpose of God in our lives in business. It can be done in any way that works for us, but, to increase effectiveness in ministry, it must include and remind us of ministry as the essential thing that it is.


            Write your Mission Statement below. If you can't write it, you don't have one. To the degree you struggle to write it exactly and easily, you don't have one. If you don't have one, you can get a handicapped parking sticker. Write your Mission Statement .   




Reread the 5 qualities of an effective Mission Statement listed above. (a-e) Rate your Mission Statement on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being high, against the qualities given.


1-----2-----3----4-----5-----6-----7-----8-----9-----10         Rating______


II- The second component of An Integrated Plan For Effective Ministry is called: Know The Target Markets. It is equivalent to the marketing process of our business.

To be effective in our business we have to have a real knowledge of who our customers are and where they are before we can even begin to find out what they like or want and to develop strategies to supply them. Knowing the size and location of our target markets is simply basic to our understanding of our business and essential to our long-term success.

Looking at our business from the ministry perspective is exactly the same. If we consider our product for ministry in our business to be the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in all its applications and manifestations, and our business to be a vehicle or conduit for the distribution of this product, we need to know what the demographics of our market are in terms of at least location and size. Establishing tastes and preferences comes only after we know the fundamentals of scope and location.

Each business has a natural market for its ministry. It is unique and uniquely available to the business, and it is a market that requires no additional effort to establish. It is made up of all those who we do business with in any way. We call it our "Circle of Influence." Every business has this unique group of possible customers for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. No two of us are the same. These are the people we come in contact with in the normal course of business. They buy from us, sell to us, supply us goods and services, compete with us and work with us. They are all around us every day. We don't have to go look for them in any extra way, we are already in relationship, or trying to be, with them. The gospel is shared through relationship, through relational contact, just as business is. People do business with people. People share the gospel with people. Our goal is to learn to do both in one process, but first we need to know our market.

Do you know your market? Let's see. Fill in the blanks below. Answer based on an annual basis.


1-     How many employees do you have?                                                     #_____

a-     How many ask you for a job in a year?                                     #_____

b-     Multiply your employees times two, they have families               #_____


2-     How many customers do you serve annually?                                       #_____

a-     How many do you call on who don't buy?                                  #_____

b-     How many see your ads, billboards, company sign or literature? #_____


3-     How many suppliers of all kinds do you use in your business in a year?   #_____

a-     How many call on you that you don't use?                                #_____


4-     How many competitors know your company?                                        #_____


5-     How may other people do you know just because of business?              #_____ 


            Total all the numbers at each #.         Total Target Markets             #______


            This number, and these market segments represent your unique mission field, or market for ministry of the gospel. You will relate to them in various ways during the next year and perhaps every year for the foreseeable future. How you may or may not choose to share the gospel with them is not the point here. The point is that they are there and that you could, perhaps, if you choose to. Average church membership in America is less than 100. How does your mission field compare? The average church will see less than 75 new people each year. How many will you contact?

But, do you know your Target Market?  If this is old news to you, give yourself a 10. If it is old news but you aren't doing anything with it, take 5 off. If you have never thought of this before, take a 5 for thinking about it now. If you don't want to think about it, take whatever you want.


1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6-----7-----8-----9-----10             Rating____



III- After we know who and where our Target Market components are, our next step is to develop our strategy for presenting our product to them and helping them buy it. It is the equivalent of making a sales plan. We call this third component Brainstorming Methods and Options. This is where our creative abilities are really engaged. The challenge is to learn to do things in the course of doing business that will allow those who God is drawing, or has drawn, to Himself, or who need His love and mercy, to identify themselves to us, and avail themselves of our product. To do so we most often have to take the first step by identifying ourselves as having the product and being willing to share it.   


      The question becomes, "How do we do that as we do business, relating to our market in a business way, with as great a degree of excellence and professionalism possible, and at the same time having as a concurrent purpose sharing the gospel?

To do so will challenge all of the creative abilities we have available to us, and one of the most valuable and successful ways of engaging these abilities is through the use of creative brainstorming. We can begin to utilize this potential by drawing on the others God has given us to work with, inviting them to join us in imagining what might be done to share the work of ministry as a part of the process of relating to us.

            We may do this with several groups or only one. For instance, we might choose a group of  key Christian managers to start with, and work initially with them. Or we may choose to include the entire team in the process. That decision varies with each company. The point of this component is to do it, to engage others in creatively seeking options and methods for applying the ministry of the gospel as we do business. The definition of ministry in simplified form is three-fold; (1)introducing others to God who don't know Him, or salvation, (2)helping those who already know Him to get to know Him better, or sanctification, and (3) sharing God's love and mercy with those who are in need, or service. We can use many of the known techniques to do the actual brainstorming from red light-green light to story boarding to develop possibilities, whichever we prefer, but the point is to do it. In an average company using these techniques it is not unusual to develop a list of 15 to 30 possibilities. The third step is to be used to create a list of options, possibilities, or methods for any or all of the three forms of ministry. Participants should be encouraged to be creative and let their ideas flow freely. They will not be judged at this point, merely sought after and collected. (A sample list is available from C12) Have you done this? Have you done it lately? Rate yourself. If you have never asked anyone what they thought about anything give yourself a 1. If you did this once a while ago, but never did anything with the results, take a 0. If you did it once to get started, put some things in play, but haven't revisited the results or the process for a couple of years take a 5. If you do creative brainstorming for the purpose of improving the ministry in and through your business at least once each year, take an 8. If you do it each year with your team and follow through on it, you are a 10! Rate yourself.


1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6-----7-----8-----9----10-----                      Rating_____


IV- Component 4 is called Set Definite Goals and Consistent Actions. Here we take the 1,2, or 3 best or most exciting, easiest to implement, and most easily doable actions from the list created in our brainstorming session and make a plan to do them, a written plan. In the selection process you should look for things to do that are appealing to you and consistent with your spiritual gifts and interests and those of your team. In order for this plan to be effective it must include several qualities. The key points are as follows:

The plan must be specific in terms of what the action will be, when it will start, who will be responsible for what in it, and at what points in time results will be evaluated.

b-     It must have measurable results as its objective.

c-     It should be set into a defined time frame.

d-    It must be achievable and realistic.

e-     It must be integrated into the strategic plan of the company and treated as equal to every other part of the business plan. By this we mean that if you check sales, profit or market share for your business each month, the results of your ministry activities listed here should be checked as frequently and seriously. 

f-      There must be accountability assigned and applied. Just as a business plan is worthless if there is no accountability for it, so will a ministry plan be. We can expect what we are willing to inspect and what we pay attention to always gets better. Ultimately God will hold each of us accountable for how we use the opportunity He provides, so we might as well accept the fact and make ourselves accountable now.

g-     Use of some form or chart to identify actions and record results should be integrated with other such materials that are used for the other functions of the business that you measure.


            So, how definite are your ministry goals? How consistent are your actions? Rate yourself. If you have a written plan, a balance sheet to record the results of ministry activities, and if you review your results as often as you look at the profit and loss results, and if you have been doing so for at least a full year you are a 10. If you did this once, a few years ago, have looked at the results occasionally, don't have a form, and are convicted about now, take a 5. If you have seen this idea before, but never done anything about it, you are a 2. If you have never seen anything like this before but are kind of excited about it, you are a 4. If you never intend to do anything like this, well, why are you here? Rate yourself in terms of  how definite are your goals and how consistent your actions.


1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6-----7-----8-----9-----10-----            Rating_____


V- The 5th component is called Measure and Monitor Results and Make Adjustments. It is the actualization of the first four and is begun in the goal setting part of step IV. Once the goals of the actions to be taken are established, and the methods for measuring progress towards the goals agreed upon, there must be an accountability established for ongoing evaluation and possible adjustments based on current results. This step refers to points e and f above. A person or a team must be actively engaged in measuring and monitoring the results and, if needed, making adjustments on an ongoing basis. Finally, rate your ministry plan. Is anyone watching? Do you have any sort of goals for whatever actions you are taking? Is anyone responsible for recording the results and reporting them to you? Rate yourself.


1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6-----7-----8-----9-----10                  Rating_____


Total your ratings and divide by five to get your average rating.         Average Rating_____


This is a new exercise for most of us. There isn't a lot of data to use in commenting on what constitutes a good or a poor rating. We do know that these 5 components, if consistently applied, will have a powerful effect on the quality and consistency of the ministry that is done in and through our business, and we started this segment by highlighting the lack of consistency in the ministry portion of our business lives as a problem. So, honestly, what do you think? What should be a standard, or at least a minimum average rating?  Of course it makes a difference just where we are in our exposure to the concept. Those that know more should be held (will be held) to a higher standard than those who know less. So maybe there is no answer other than that which is between each of us and God. In fact, let's leave it there. Between you and God decide what your rating should be and compare that number to what it is. Work out any difference with Him.



1-     Prayerfully consider the implications of this segment. Review your ratings in each component.

2-     In each that is less than you believe it should be at this time, ask God for guidance in how you can improve your rating.

3-     Make a plan for each area He reveals. Get help if you need it.

4-     If you have never made a plan for ministry, use the 5 points to begin one. If you need help, contact C12 for assistance.

Buck Jacobs is founder and president of C12 Group.
was founded in 1992 by Buck Jacobs, a long-time senior business executive who had spent the prior decade pursuing the Lord's purpose in the marketplace by serving those called to lead businesses under the Lordship of Christ.  After previously enjoying a decade of experience with just such a business, Buck had then served many like-minded business CEOs/Owners in Florida as state director for FCCI.  Many of these business leaders desired to 'go deeper', by being challenged, stretched and held accountable for both business performance and ministry impact.Visit his website at www.c12group.com to learn more.


 For more resources by Buck Jacobs visit the Faith and Work Resources.com website link shown on the right side of this page.

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