If there is one thing I've found over my few years as a fulltime pastor it's that there are a lot of people who want to start up their own ministry. Everyone has their passions and knows the ministry they wish their church had. So I'm going to give you a few suggestions to starting up a new ministry in a church. Be aware this list may not be comprehensive and is more or less a general guideline to getting one started.
STEP 1: Find a church that fits you. Not every church is for everyone. And most of that comes down to worship style preference. I also encourage you to do research into the church and make sure they are Bible believing and that your beliefs match up with theirs. It would be a terrible thing to start up a ministry and find out you can't stay at a church because of their beliefs. So be sure this is a church you are willing to stay at for years. And just a note- if that church's vision and mission matches up with what God has called you to, but their music isn't your preference... just put up with it and listen to your favorite style in the car on the way to church. Matching up with beliefs, vision, and mission is far more important than the style of music a church plays.
STEP 2: Join that church! Some people call it becoming an owner, and others call it being a member. Whatever it is called let the people know you have a serious commitment to that church and their vision.
STEP 3: Get involved in a ministry. You need to find a place to serve. And I encourage you to serve in that ministry for at least a year before even considering starting up a new ministry. Serving helps you with a couple of things. 1) You'll get to know other ministers in the church. 2) It will orient you to a church's mission and vision. You'll be able to see more clearly what the church's goals are and who they are trying to reach. It would be a bad idea to start up a ministry without knowing those things.
STEP 4: Look where God is at work in your church. Ask these types of questions:
- What type of person is being reached by my church? If your church is reaching a lot of singles and young marrieds, but has no seniors, you probably don't want to start up a monthly breakfast for the elderly (unless of course you see a need where there are seniors who don't have an outlet, then you would have a great ministry opportunity.)
- Does this ministry fit in with the strategy of my Church?
- What are the church's strengths and how can I use those to help me?
STEP 4.5: Talk With Your Pastor about the ministry... You'll have a lot more respect from him if you're an actively serving and consistently attending member that he knows he can trust. And with his blessing and support move on to step 5.
STEP 5: Partner with people and get them excited about your dream. Tell people where you want the ministry to go, who you want it to reach, and how they can be a part of it. People want to know where you're going. They don't want to jump on a ship that has no destination. People will invest time and money into a vision not a fancily named ministry.
STEP 6: Raise your funding. Ministry takes money. Some churches may have the financial means to support whatever ministry you feel God telling you to start, but even so, raising your own funding will help you and your team members take ownership of the ministry. Once the church sees your dedication and success they'll be more willing to throw a few dollars your way. Again, when trying to raise money, be sure to get people invested in the vision of the ministry. You can tell them all day long how much money you need, but connecting those dollars to actual people will get the money flowing.
STEP 7: Pick a start date, advertise, and kick it off!!! You will have worked hard to get here, but you should know the hard work is just beginning, but so are the great rewards. Make sure you are celebrating God's victory in people's lives. If someone becomes a follower of Christ tell people how God is using the ministry! Give God the glory.
A few closing points-
- Your ministry will not be the savior of any church, big or small. Jesus saved the church. Your ministry is a tool that God can use.
- Your ministry has the potential to make a real difference when you start thinking about other people's needs.
- Don't start a ministry that you wish your church had. Start the ministry your church needs.
- Ministry is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for a very rough road of non-attendance and half-heartedness in the beginning, but fight through it! It takes time to grow a great ministry. Having a strong vision for your ministry will help get people's hearts into it and get people to attend and/or support it.