An Effective 3 Step Exercise to Generate Ministry Ideas

3 Step Exercise.001



Would you agree that ministry can mean different things to many people?  While the Great Commission should be the heart of any ministry the means to accomplish this is not always agreed upon.  This becomes even more muddled when a group consists of different ethnicities or walks of life.

The Rut

Wanting to disrupt the direction of the small group structure I focused on a ministry vision planning session.  This structure consisted of a sit and discuss scripture to mature believers.  While this structure has been the norm I believe churches need to be sensitive to the community needs.  During this session I challenged the group to list ministry opportunities where they felt a calling to.  This allowed me to gauge where their hearts and passions were.

Talk about amazing results!

A young lady proposed a career clothing closet, career services that included resume building, and job interview coaching.  Another, a married couple, proposed expanding an already existing benevolence fund.  Out of this exercise the group backed three outreach ministries.

Let me walk you through this vision planning session I conducted.

The How-To’s of Vision Planning

1. Generating Ideas

The goal is to have individuals list as many ideas as possible.  It is important that each person has a voice in the exercise.  Do not allow couples to submit a combined idea.  This idea generating will go on for several minutes until each member has provided at least 5 ideas.  This gives you a good number of ideas to work off of.  Several ideas will appear similar to those previously stated and that’s ok.  Record those as well.

*Your focus at this stage is Quantity!*

Word of caution! Do not work logistics out during this initial stage.  This can derail the session in a heartbeat.  Attendees will try to hash out the details and you need to reign them back in.

2.  Priority Ranking

At this stage of the vision planning the goal is to rank the ideas on a scale of 1-4.  Number 1 being the most important and 4 the least.  It is imperative that an idea not be presented as not important but rather not feasible due to budget, building constraints, etc.  This will avoid hurting the owner’s feeling and keep them involved.  The host will ask the group to rank the activity and can be recorded by a show of hands.

3.  Implementation evaluation

At this stage the group is in the weeds discussing available resources.  Here the attendees will focus on the details like available volunteers, room requirements, additional tools, etc.  A rule of thumb, any idea with a number one is considered the easiest.  This idea can be implemented in less than three month’s time and requires the least resources.  A number 4 will be one that would require a larger budget and resources allocation.  For example, recalling the resume services.  It was voted to be a “1” priority and “1” for ease of implementation.

Vision planning
Example of Small Group Ministry Vision Planning


The Results

This was an effective session as the group backed three ideas.  The above picture doesn’t include all the generated ideas but trust me there were many!  To date, I have organized one session and have participated in two with great results.

Are you ready to challenge your small group?  This is fairly easy to lead and consider me a source should you need help.  I can be reached at

A Three Part Study on Desertion, Grace, and Redemption

This study looks at the rift that John Mark caused when he departed from his mission trip and left Paul and Barnabas behind.

The Case for an AWOL, or John Mark

John Mark Departs
John Mark Departs after First Missionary Trip

“Now when Paul and his party set sail from  Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John Mark, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.  Acts 13:13 (NKJV)

Got Betrayal?

Can you recall a time when you recruited an individual to assist you in a task and shortly after commencing they left?  Perhaps at the peak of the task? You might have had a sense of betrayal but continued on-ward.  In reading of Acts 13 we see this scenario unfold and the consequences in later chapters.  However, we are not previewed to the reasons for John Mark’s departure.  There are scholars who present unique thoughts.  Mathew Henry believed John Mark did not like the work or missed his mother.

Family Ties

John Mark and Barnabas were related.  At the initial trip they visited Cyrus where Barnabas’ family lived.  See where this is going?  John Mark was probably well received in Cyrus and might have enjoyed the company of family members.  Things got real shortly after departing Cyrus and heading to the Island of Paphos. Here they encountered a sorcerer whom Paul condemned to blindness. V6-11.

The Division Trip

In Acts 13:13 John Mark departed and left for Jerusalem thus leaving Paul and Barnabas to continue the trip.  This early and un-welcome departure did not set well with Paul.  In reading of Acts 15:37 when the Paul and Barnabas discussed “visiting the brethren in every city” Barnabas was determined to take John Mark.  And in verse 38 “Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had separated from them and had not gone with them to the work.”  This dispute would be the end of this missionary duo.

What Does This Have to do With Millennials?

When dealing with millennials you must realize that they will be like John Mark who demonstrate zeal and can eventually burn out.  Should this happen, I prayerfully encourage you to reconsider before ousting them from your team.  I can relate with young John Mark.  I was delegated tasks to complete and would leave them half done.  My work was subpar.  However, I am thankful the leaders that entrusted me with the tasks did not abandon me when I failed time after time.  They stuck by me and I turned this around.

Study Questions (Reference Acts 13)

Q1-  How had the Antioch church prepared  before sending Paul and Barnabas on this journey?

Q2-When has an individual with potential caused you to lose sight of your goal or vision?

Q3- What practical application can be drawn from John Mark’s behavior?

Q4- If you have demonstrated behavior like John Mark how did you overcome it?  Were there damaged relationships?

Q5- Does all mission work require the support of the home church?  Why or why not?

Q6- In verse 12, Paul asks “will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?”  The is the modus operandi, MO, of the enemy.  He will take the truth and distort it.   How has this deceit played out in your life?  What truth has the enemy sabotaged?

Q7- In verse 7 it’s ironic that Bergius Paulus was an “intelligent man” but was not able to discern that Bar-Jesus was a demonic power.  What does this say about worldly intelligence and it’s ability to discern between spiritual welfare?

Q8-Why is it important for the enemy to setup camp among the powerful and elite?