Build Programs Around People

Build ministries around the people you have; not the other way around. Very often ministry leaders dream up events and programs that start out as dynamic in their own mind. They think of that divinely inspired idea that would be the catalyst of momentum needed within their church or organization.

After the idea is fleshed out a bit more a very common question is asked. It's a question that is probably asked in every church:

"Who should we get to lead this?"

Various people come to mind and are put through a filter of thought that weeds out the "definitely nots" from the "they might could do it" categories.

The problem is that the idea isn't first centered around people, but the idea itself. The seemingly right person may be found to take on the idea, but it's longevity or ultimate effectiveness is yet to be seen.

Here is a quote from chapter 2 of The Trellis and The Vine

When planning ministry for the year ahead, there are two broad approaches we could adopt. One is to consider existing church programs (such as Sunday meetings, youth work, children's ministry and Bible study groups) and then work out how such programs can be maintained and improved.

The other approach is to start with the people in your church, having no particular structures or programs in mind, and then consider who are these people God has given you, how you can help them grow in Christian maturity, and what form their gifts and opportunities might take...

This is a revolutionary mind-shift: when we think about our people, it moves our focus to putting them first and building ministries around them. In the course of doing so, it may become apparent that some programs no longer serve any worthwhile purpose.

People first. Identify the gifts and skills that are present with the people you have. Dream up ideas that fit them perfectly. Everyone wins.