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What “Busyness” are you in? by the Ministry Marketing Coach, Chris Forbes (2192 hits)

By chris Forbes

What “busyness” are you in? Oops— I guess that should be “business!” But the problem is, for many churches, what they are doing looks more like busyness than serious business.
Ever look at that word “business”? I

t looks like “busy” but means something more targeted and directed. Many businesses struggle in their marketing because the company doesn’t have a niche, or focus. Many churches struggle in their marketing because what they are trying to do is too broad.

Can your ministry benefit from narrowing your focus?

Many ministries have a good general sense of the work they are trying to accomplish, but they don’t have specific spiritual tasks they are trying to accomplish beyond the generalalities. They are busy in their busyness, but unclear what they are trying to do—they don’t know their business.

Not that they are heretical, everything they do is very biblical. You can’t point to their individual ministries and find fault. But why, with all the biblical activities, don’t they make the stated impact they say they want to make? The reason is they lack focus. You simply cannot be all things to all people! The lack of focus will dilute your effectiveness.

Wait a minute, didn’t the Apostle Paul say in 1 Corinthians 9:22: “I am all things to all men?”

Yes, Paul did say that, but notice what he really is saying (in context) is he is not all things to all men “all at the same time”, he is one thing to the Jews, quite another single thing to the Greeks, to the weak one way, etc. Paul had a clear sense of focus in all his ministries. This is a passage where Paul is explaining his ability to focus:

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)

Paul was making the case for why he is able to do so much in the Kingdom; because of his principle of focus. Paul knew better than to try to do it all. He had the ability to focus his ministry in such a way as to increase his effectiveness.

Earlier I asked you to consider what you would do if you had unlimited resources to reach people. Now let’s turn that over and try the reverse, what would you do if you only had 60% of the resources you have now? What would you eliminate? What would you still be doing?

Asking this question will help you see where your priorities really are. You find out what are your core ministries right off the bat! Maybe you should focus on the 60% of things you would do, instead of trying to increase the things you are doing and dilute your ability to do your core ministries well. Could 40% of what you are presently doing really be just busyness?

Many ministries would be enhanced by doing less, not more. In my work with church planters and missionaries, I have seen the entrepreneur fires glowing in the eyes of ministers, who want to build it all, and build it all now! They have no clearly stated mission, or if they do, they don’t use their mission statements to drive what they do. They just keep driving forward hard and as fast as possible. They build ministries, but don’t know why they are doing it.

Here are a few sad stories you may see as a coach:

• The huge Vacation Bible School with no follow-up ministry to parents.
• The church with the amazing gymnasium and zero plans for using it to reach the community.
• The missionary with the million dollar mobile water drilling machine designed to make water wells in rural villages that sits idle because the weight of the truck would break any bridge in the country it tried to cross.
• The church advertisement in the newspaper with no contact information in it that would help an interested person visit the church.
• The same church with no greeters, no information desk, no informational brochure or any recognition of guest from the church.
• A mission group with 10,000 responses to an offer of the New Testament in the language of an eastern people group, and no idea what to do next with the 10k names and addresses from respondents.
• A mission church with a coffee shop and internet café ministry that is well attended by locals and no idea how to bride the people that are coming to the gospel.
• A church in a big dollar rebuild of their preschool wing without a single clue how many preschoolers live in the vicinity of their church.
• A church with a library and media center, that doesn’t know what to do with it at all.
• A mission with a popular radio program and no way to measure their impact on lostness
• A church with a sermon series targeted at postmodern unbelievers based on the pastor’s reading of the latest Hip-Christian author, not on responsiveness to actual people’s needs in the community.
• A email newsletter ministry with 160,000 subscribers and no idea who are their subscribers
• Programs started for children and mothers adopted by a church that don’t get more than money from the congregation
• A traditional church with all age groups of people trying to emulate a popular “flagship” church that doesn’t reach older age groups.

Often ministries get started and are maintained because someone had an idea to try something, not because someone identified a need in the community. Or ministries get started, but no thought has been given to how the ministry supports or fits into the plans for the rest of the church. When the programs fill with people, nobody asks, “Is this something that helps us accomplish our mission?”

If you are trying to be all things to all men all at the same time– you end up being nothing to nobody. How do you know what you are doing is leading to that vision God has given your ministry? I wonder how many foundations, institutions, and organizations exist that really serve no purpose–are not directed at accomplishing anything in particular. God only knows if what you are doing is what He wants you to do—ask Him!

So stop all the activity planning and do a little missionary work. Ask yourself “why!”

• Why are you doing what you are doing?
• How does what you do fit into your mission?
• Is this the best way to accomplish the task?
• Do you have a mission statement?
• Does the mission statement drive what you are doing?
• Should you update your mission?
• What makes this church unique?
• Why are you located in the place you are located?
• Who lives outside the doors of the church?
• What is driving your decision-making and prioritizing?

Does this all sound like so much marketing/business world talk?
Don’t take it from me, read on and see what Paul said about it:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.”(1 Corinthians 9:24-26)

As a coach help your clients to determine what their mission is today. Ask “What business are you in? Not what can you do to keep busy!”

Vision is about where you are going, what you are going to become. Mission is about what you are going to do now that moves you closer to the vision. Make sure whatever you plan to do fit well with the mission you need to accomplish now.

Having and communicating a clear vision is attractive to unchurched people and leads your members to want to do more outreach. If you have a clear direction, you will find the growth takes care of itself.

Marketing cannot help a church accomplish a mission if the church hasn’t the foggiest idea what they are trying to accomplish.

Here are a few questions to help you determine what the church needs from you as a marketing coach.

1. How would you describe the church’s ministry?
2. What are the key strengths of your church’s ministry?
3. What are the weaknesses or challenges of your church’s ministry?
4. Where would you like to see your church’s ministry in the next 6 months?
5. What obstacles might be getting in the way of achieving these results?
6. What might be getting in the way of getting more prospects for the church’s ministry?
7. What things are you most passionate about and how are these reflected in your church’s ministry?
8. What strategies are you using right now?
9. What is the most successful aspect of your church’s ministry? What is the least successful aspect of your church’s ministry?
10. Do you have a specific strategy for following up with all prospects? If so, what is it?
11. Do you have a marketing calendar?
12. What specific results do you want to obtain from working with me as a marketing coach?

Chris is a colleague of mine. Reach out to him at www.MinistryMarketingCoach.com
Posted By: Pam Perry
Friday, August 29th 2008 at 11:59PM
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