Looking Forward With a Plan

Another year has passed and 2023 is here for us to continue our calling from God in ministry through the church. As time passes, we remember traditions that have helped us in our work together. One tradition is making New Year’s resolutions that may have us attempting to keep going, keep the status quo, stop what did not work or maybe start something new.  

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023? Is it to keep going, keep the status quo, stop something or is it to start something new? Whichever it is, there needs to be a plan.  

I am reminded through Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-40 that when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and invite in a stranger, we have done these things in the name of Christ. It should be our plan to fulfill actions such as these. We should be intentional about engaging in the mission field. Maybe this year, your New Year resolution is to develop a ministry plan for your church.
In the years since I began in pastoral ministry, 1987 through today, I have learned I need to have a plan and be intentional about working the plan. So what is a ministry plan? A ministry plan includes the intentional steps necessary to move forward in God’s calling on the church. 

This calling (or mission) is “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The ministry plan defines the intentional steps in making disciples. The plan begins with defining the mission field in which we have been appointed each year and building relationships within that mission field. Building relationships is key to a successful ministry.

How does a church define its mission field to be able to put a ministry plan in place? Because not every church is gifted with the same types of ministries, we must discover two things. 
  1. What gifts have been given to our church folks? 
  2. What is the affinity of the community? 
For example, if a community is focused on school sports, grain farming, or corporate business, we can focus on building a relationship in these community areas. During planting season in a rural area, we can ask a couple of people who have an affinity for farmers to take a container of tea and sandwiches to share with the farmer in the field. While sharing in this meal, they can offer a prayer for a good crop season. Later, they can repeat this gesture during harvest to build on these relationships. 

As 2023 unfolds, are we looking forward to a plan to reach people for Christ? How does that planning guide in building relationships? Does the plan define the affinity of the community? These are some of the questions we need to ask as we develop a ministry plan that is forward-looking.  

May God lead you, may Christ bless you and may the Holy Spirit give you strength as you look forward to the new year. I pray your New Year’s resolution is defined by a successful ministry plan for making disciples.