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6 Project Success Indicators for Your Service Ministry

Let's take a look at some of your possible success indicators to help you measure both Project work and your overall Ministry effectiveness.

Here are some key areas that you could review to gauge project success and identify areas for ministry improvement. Remember to follow-up with the client for their input:

  • The quality and completion of the work
  • The appropriate clean up was completed
  • The client was personally satisfied with the work
  • The client’s spiritual needs were addressed
  • The client’s desire for prayer and contact with a local church were addressed
  • The project documentation was complete and filed for historical reference

What are the success indicators for your Ministry?

  • Number of projects completed by the team per month/year
  • Number of volunteers involved in the course of a month/year
  • Client's connected with local churches through the ministry experience. (This can be hard to quantify.)
  • Number of clients that were followed up within a month/six months to determine additional needs
  • Number of joint projects that occurred with other church teams or ministries.


The Most Important Ministry (For Husbands)

Marriage and ministry on the scalesToday I am celebrating eight years of marriage to my beautiful wife. But more about that later.

My wife and I like to read marriage books. Yes, our pace can be a little slow (three-toed sloth tip-toeing through a tarpit during rush hour slow), but we usually enjoy the exercise and learn a few things in the process. Right now, we are reading “Christian Marriage” by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is a deep study of the meaning, theology and purpose of marriage as laid out in Ephesians 5. It’s a pretty famous passage, especially verses 22 – 33. Maybe you have heard them read at a marriage ceremony or conference.

So what does this have to do with ministry and where is this going? Well, there are some amazingly strong exhortations for men in verses 25 and 31 that are broadly applicable across our lives.

Verse 25 challenges us to "...love our wives like Christ loved the church". Wow! Come again?

Just a couple words that are nine-months pregnant with meaning. Like Christ loved the church? As in, be willing to die for her? Lead her spiritually? Put her first in everything I do? Consider myself nothing so that she may be edified and served? Consider quality time with her more important than what I want to do? Really?

I’ve got some work ahead of me…

And this applies to our service life as well. Our ministry life should be robust as men (an area I am trying to also improve!). But it starts with our wives. That is our most important ministry. Believe me, I am not talking at you, but with a metaphorical set of eyes staring straight in the equally metaphorical mirror. All of our good ministry and service work (and anything else in our lives) can be counterproductive if we are not loving and leading our wives sacrificially. So, tool guys… You know who you are. Swing a hammer and help out that widow or single mom. But remember to save your best for your wife!

As for me, I’m going to enjoy a little anniversary trip with my wife and be thankful for eight great, exciting and challenging years of marriage. And be thankful to God that He walks through this with me 'cuz I cannot do this myself (cue "Lead me" by Sanctus Real - seriously!). I need His help to be the man He and my wife want me to be!

Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife!

Jim

Categories: Devotionals, Life balance Tags:

3 Things You Need to Start a Home Repair Ministry (and 8 More to Grow)

A home repair team, in the most rudimentary form, needs very few things:

    1) A couple of people who want to use their knowledge and skills in construction-related ministry
    2) A project or several projects requiring volunteers
    3) A method of funding materials

Anything larger than "a couple of guys" requires some level of organization or things can get chaotic quickly. At that point, you will need to:

    Building a Ramp1) Identify a team leader
    2) Determine a method of distributing information to the volunteer team (meeting, email, website, etc.)
    3) Develop a plan to distribute information to supporters and let potential "clients" know about the ministry
    4) Create a database or tracking mechanism for projects and volunteers
    5) Build a volunteer pool over time and a plan to manage and develop your volunteers
    6) Establish guidelines for carrying out the ministry need, including safety, types of projects the team can/cannot handle, scope, financial need of clients, etc.
    7) Foster communication between the team and church leadership so that all are kept abreast of the ministry development and progress
    8) Develop an accountability system to ensure that the spiritual aspect of serving on a home repairs team is being included, and so that there is proper follow up and quality control for completing projects.

Want more information on starting, finding projects, how to pay for projects and more? We can help! Register on our site today at no charge!

The Wrong Way, and the Right Way to Serve

Knight in shining armor

from freeimages.com / Kamila Turton

Are you a knumbskull like me? A while back, I had the chance to help serve a hurting family in my church by hanging out with one of the kids. And, on top of that, it was to help my wife out out, who was working with the mom. So Gallahad came riding in with a heart as big as Montana to save the day, right? Ummm, not so much.

See, I am not a “kid person”, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the potential aggravation after work. I did go, but I initially went into it kicking and screaming when my wife called asking for help. Nice, huh?

Well, God got my heart tuned the right direction, eventually, and I apologized to my wife on the ride over. The night went alright and some important work got done. But what a great (negative) lesson in our attitude in service. Too often, I don’t head into it with a heart of joy and grace. Unlike a terrific biblical model for responding to a need in the church, the Macedonians.

Here is the famous passage from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 8:1 – 5 (NIV presented here).

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.


Wow, talk about the heart of a servant and love for fellow believers! Even as they were undergoing affliction, they were, as my pastor described it, “giddy” with the privilege to support and help the church. How cool is that? And what a humbling reminder of the need to serve with the right attitude. Especially those in the church. As Jesus said in John's gospel (13:34-35) - "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (NIV)."

May I, and we all, grow to be better Macedonians, first giving ourselves over to the Lord in service as we love our brothers, sisters and others.

Jim

Categories: Devotionals, Lessons Learned, Service Tags:

The Ministry Opportunity You May Be Sitting On

Churches are trying to get the most outreach impact they can from available resources, but there’s a tricky issue – available resource. On top of that, we know we have limited hours in a day and can feel it - palpably. Churches have to be smart and strategic in the Kingdom work they do to be good and faithful stewards of what God has given them.

Home Repairs GuySo here’s the punchline. For this opportunity, you may not need to think about starting a new ministry. Your church may already be sitting on top of one that already exists (or at least has the potential to exist) in your church! Think about this. Who’s the guy you call or would call if you had a widow in your church with a leaky faucet? Who is always helping out when something breaks or needs to get built. Does a face or two spring to mind? Odds are pretty good that this person may not be formally plugged in with a ministry and has trouble figuring out where and how to serve. Why wouldn’t you want that guy reaching out to more people in your congregation or your community? Maybe it’s time to turn ‘em loose!

Widow on new deckAnd you do that by starting a home repair ministry. A home repair ministry is an opportunity for your church to love on and serve your widows, single moms, elderly and disabled members, and to serve these same groups out in your community. In fact, once your team learns how to get referrals you may find what our Executive Director describes as a very odd phenomonon. People in your comumnity inviting your Christ-followers into their homes. How's that for an outreach opportunity? Cool, huh?

You’re probably thinking that this sounds good, but let’s get real, staff and ministry leaders don’t have time to throw at another ad hoc thing. The beauty of a home repairs ministry is that it’s designed to be lay-led. Past receiving the occasional update, staff doesn’t have to get further involved unless they want to.

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to get started, we have a library of content including ministry vision, how to get started, how and where to get referrals, project management, volunteer management and more. We like to think of it as a home repair ministry “in a box”. Get a Sneak Peek of what's available!

We also provide access to a network of churches with home repair ministries (right now mainly in Atlanta, but starting to spread nationally). Will you join us? We do not charge for the site (but you can make a donation if you are able). Check out what you get from Home Repairs Ministries

You can also click “Contact Us” near the bottom of this webpage to directly contact us with questions you might have.

The Importance of Work, Life and Balance

I wanted to share a good blog post and reminder from The High Calling on the Importance of Work, Life and Balance.

Article

Categories: Life balance, Ministry Impact, Service Tags:

Six Suggestions for Managing Volunteers

If someone were to ask you about the most critical resources that you need to carry out your ministry (or if you are considering starting a ministry), what would you answer? Would it be:

  • A place to meet and organize
  • A strong, engaged leader
  • Money to carry out your mission
  • Time

Volunteers on-siteWe know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the heart of any Christian ministry. But did you ever think about your volunteers being the life-giving blood cells carrying the oxygen (i.e. your ministry service) to where it needs to go? Are you pouring time and effort into your ministries' volunteers?

Whatever your particular ministry is, volunteer management and relationship building will be one of the key factors in your ministries' success and longevity. It is difficult to succeed if you are not recruiting, engaging, training and following-up with your volunteers in a systematic way.  Here are six suggestions for managing and growing your volunteers and improving your ministry impact.

1)      Screen your volunteers – This may seem like a strange thing to feature in a section on volunteer management, but it is a critical step for ministries focused on outreach and interacting with clients. Perform a background check and protect your clients AND the volunteer. Screen for potential problems on the up-front and save yourself and your volunteers from potential trouble.

2)      Keep track of your volunteers' skills in a database or book – For a ministry that is very multi-faceted, like a home repair ministry, it is very helpful to know what your volunteers' skills are and what kinds of jobs they can and cannot do. The church presents a wonderful diversity of giftedness. As Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians (4:16) - From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV – emphasis mine). Knowing the skills of your volunteers gives you a chance to put them in projects where they can succeed. Remember to have your volunteers give you their schedule for service (when and how often) and honor it. By the way, we have a volunteer spreadsheet that we have used that your welcome to use if you sign up as a Ministry Partner.

Training sign

Photo courtesy of Cristian Galletti, freeimages.com)

3)      Train your volunteers and onboard them – Whatever your volunteer's skills are, they should be familiarized with how your ministry operates, what support they can expect from leadership, your program history, etc. Give them the information that they need to be productive and to determine if your ministry is the right one for them. Better to find these things out early and get the right people involved and not just warm bodies (although with creativity you can have unskilled laborers – of which I include myself - involved in cleaning up, setting up and feeding the other volunteers). If your ministry is not a fit then there certainly is another ministry home for the volunteer. Regardless of your volunteer's skill set, leave jobs with a significant potential for injury (i.e. the use of high ladders) to professionals.

4)      Recommend liability insurance if your ministry carries injury risk – Just like at home, injuries can occur when volunteering with a home repair ministry. Falling off ladders, tripping over cords and wires, and other injuries do happen to volunteers. If your volunteers are not covered for personal injuries, it is strongly advised that you clearly explain the necessity of carrying personal liability insurance prior to engaging in any home repair efforts. It is the obligation of a home repairs ministry to notify volunteers of the lack of personal liability coverage. To protect your ministry you should also have your volunteers sign a legal waiver form.

5)      Do not take on jobs that you lack the volunteer skills for (or lack the manpower to do the job quickly) – We try to never take on a project that takes more than one or two days. Long projects tend to sap the strength and morale of your team.

6)      Follow-up with your volunteers – Ask them if their skills are being utilized correctly. See if there are other roles that the volunteer might want to take on or learn. Look for opportunities to move volunteers into a leadership position (as appropriate). As with paying jobs the potential for leadership and/or growth can motivate your volunteers to stick with you.

By taking the time to help your volunteers thrive and succeed you will ultimately encourage them to stick with you for the long haul and help your ministry serve with excellence.

Igniting Your Ministry Impact

A great way to multiply your impact, whether you are an Outreach Ministry, Mercy Ministry, or other Non-Profit organization, is to build service networks with other community service non-profits. Find logical synergies with other organizations or find needs that they have to help more people in the area. You can take several approaches, such as directly partnering with the other agency or using your organization's skills or services to supplement their offerings. The Foundation Center's National Collaboration Database - collaboration.foundationcenter.org/ - is a good resource for additional ideas for partnering opportunities. Some of these include sharing space, combining marketing efforts and sharing staff.

Here are potential scenarios to illustrate some of the opportunities you might want to pursue. Say, for example, you have a home repairs ministry like ours. If you poke around enough, you can probably find a co-op or food pantry that needs help with repairs. Or maybe you can make a strategic investment and help them convert some unused space into a thrift store. That helps the co-op raise more money and provides low-income homeowners, some of whom may also be your clients, necessary and affordable goods. Another options is to help a non-profit with storage space. Giving an organization a way to store more supplies (such as cans of food for a food pantry or clothing storage for a homeless services organization) is a terrific way to help them serve more people.

What if you have a car repair ministry or non-profit organization? How about providing oil changes for those driving to the food bank to pick up food for the week? Now your partnership is adding to the service value chain for your constituency. You'd be surprised at how valuable even a small non-profit can be when they are strategic about extending their reach. Are you starting to see the potential here?

In addition to the satisfaction of helping more people and living out your organization's vision, there are some practical benefits to partnering with community non-profits as well. While you're growing your service footprint in the community, you are also building trust with a valuable network of community partners. If a client comes into their establishment or they get a referral with a need that your ministry can provide, guess who they are going to call? And that works both ways. If someone you are helping needs additional help that one of your partners can provide, you just built a deeper relationship with and provided more help for your client.

Before you undertake any projects, make sure to check with your Board of Directors to make sure that they are in alignment with your vision for extending your non-profit. Despite the best of intentions, it may turn out that it doesn't make sense for you to take up some or all of the partnerships that are described here. But if there is a strategic fit, your only limit on multiplying your impact is your imagination and the time you have to apply to the endeavor.

Want to take part in one of these partnerships? If you live in Atlanta, join HRM on a project! To sign up or for more information

Confessions of a Former Christian Snob

I grew up with a mindset that our own denomination had abandoned the Word of God and the Christ-centered faith it represented. However, about the time I married my wife, a new group started and we became part of it. Over the years, I was infected with the illness of disdain for other Christians not part of our group. In fact, at one point, one of my Christian objectives was to try to show everyone else the error of their ways.

About fifteen years ago, I realized that when I stood before the throne of mercy, I would need mercy myself because of the misunderstandings I held regarding Kingdom living, loving God and others, Christ's mandate to serve others in need in light of His unspeakable sacrifice for me, etc. So if I need a vast outpouring of grace over those things, how in the world could I look askance at those who trust Christ alone for their salvation and faithfully follow Him, but do it with various approaches different from my own?

That realization came about as I was beginning to make connections to pastors in the inner-city neighborhood where I was ministering. The conviction has only grown stronger since that time and it has been my joy to work with churches Unite!in the Unite! network in Atlanta. These have a commitment to make sure they have a "beyond the walls of the church" focus by forging a partnership of Christ-centered churches serving together. These churches have implemented initiatives that were strengthened as we addressed them side-by-side. The results have been amazing.

The prayerIt’s in this spirit that we started our own outreach ministry - Home Repairs Ministries (HRM). While it’s true that HRM has given me a lot of joy (because I like to work with people with hand and tool skills who want to serve Christ and homeowners in need), I have another motive. I want to see the Body of Christ operating in an Ephesians 4 model of unity. Maybe it would be helpful to go back and read the first part of that chapter to see what I mean. Because of this desire, I get a lot of satisfaction when we put together a group of church teams several times a year when we need a large crowd to do a lot of work in a short time-period.

Churches serving togetherHere's an example - in January, we re-roofed a widow's home in one day, which required many hands doing different tasks at the same time. On the site were six churches - two Baptist, two non-denominational, one Lutheran, and one Presbyterian. It was a mix of languages, races, and certainly theological perspectives. We didn't get hung up on points of disagreement and the elderly woman we served got a big hug from the Body of Jesus. We had a good devotion talking about why we serve and how we were responding to the mercy mandate of the Gospel and then we prayed for the homeowner and her sister (who claims the name of Christ). In projects, it is vital to balance the theological and practical, Word and deed, forbearance and truth in the main/plain things of the faith. But as Paul reminds us, “…the greatest of these is love.”

Harvey

Loving Our Neighbors Better Through Home Repair

Have you ever dissected the conversation between the teacher of the law and Jesus in Luke 10:25-37 (the Good Samaritan passage)? The guy started by asking how to have eternal life. So Jesus asked him what the Law said and he quoted the Scripture about loving God most of all and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus responded, "Do this and you will live." This did not satisfy the man, so he asked a qualifying question: "And who is my neighbor?" It seems pretty clear that the man thought he could justify himself, but just to make sure he understood how far he must go, or to establish the minimum number of people he had to love, he challenged Jesus this way. Have you ever thought like this? I plead guilty and still fight it today.

Jesus then goes into the story of the good Samaritan. I won't get into all of that as you've probably heard plenty of sermons and Sunday school lessons on it and I hope you will read it again, today. The shocking thing was how Jesus turned the tables on the guy. Instead of establishing how to exactly define a neighbor to limit responsibility, Jesus asked, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be the neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?". To this the man answered, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus closed the exchange by exhorting him, "You go and do likewise." Easy - all the guy had to do was love the people who needed his help, within his capacity to serve.

Helping Hand

from freeimages.com, Michael Illuchine

This exchange screams two things to me. First, I have not loved many who needed me that I could have helped. When I did help, most often, I did not serve them the way I would have served myself. Second, I have not met the requirements of the Law that Jesus laid out. Unless God provides me mercy in the sin department, I will not be with him for eternity. He has provided the only way through the One that could meet the full requirements of the Law, Jesus - Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Immanuel (God with us). He has purchased my salvation and paid my sin debt in full. I claim the payment by repenting for my lack of love for God and man, trust in His completed work at the cross, and have committed to live under the control of the Holy Spirit so that Christ might be seen in me. I have done it very poorly. He has done His part perfectly and it didn't matter how badly I'd failed before I trusted Him, and when I come up short today, it is just as much covered by Jesus' sacrifice than at first. But there has been a wonderful and terrible change in my heart - I want to live in a way that shouts, "THANK YOU!" to my Savior. He's told us in this passage that loving God (which includes my best but still lousy efforts at obedience) and loving my neighbor as myself, say it appropriately. When all is said and done, the only righteousness I will ever have is Jesus. As Steve Brown says, "Cheer up, you're worse than you think you are." And that's true. But despite all of this He still loves me. Wow!

Providing home repairs is a wonderful outreach ministry opportunity and a way to say, "Thank you" to God. It's also a way to love my neighbor better (even if not yet quite to the level as I love myself). Would you like to join me? Are you wired to start or lead a home repair ministry in your local church? Are you a handy man or woman looking for a way to serve and love God and others? We can help you get started! No-cost church ministry resources

Categories: Devotionals Tags: