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February 25, 2017

Are You Focused on Ministry Management? or Multiplication?

By Shawn Lovejoy

As a leader, the gravitational pull is always toward the tyranny of the urgent. It’s like a tractor beam pulling us in. Too many leaders get so focused on “What now?” that we can’t focus on what’s next! We fall into the rut of putting out fires and managing the ministry machine, rather than focusing on what could come next for our ministry.

There’s a big difference between ministry management and ministry multiplication. Ministry management is important; just not at the neglect of ministry multiplication! New approaches to ministry, starting new groups, new ministries, new campuses, new sites, and new churches is where the real Kingdom and church growth will come from! Multiplication is the real key to Kingdom and church growth! So how can we get our ministries focused more on multiplication and less on management? Here are a few:

Focus on the important not the urgent

Are you familiar with the Urgent Important Matrix? In the figure below, you can probably tell where we tend to spend the majority of our time: Urgent things that are not the most Important things: the world wide web, our email inbox, social media, and meetings where nothing really gets done that will bring increase to our ministries!  What’s often neglected? The important but not urgent things: daily time alone with God, exercise, personal growth, reading, studying, etc. No one comes knocking on our door because they’ve noticed we’re neglecting these things. However, they are the most important things!  Every week requires some management of things and people. However, the tail doesn’t have to wag the dog. Plan time to work on the ministry, not just in the ministry. Schedule it! Plan time to work and think strategically on the future of the ministry. If you try to wait until things “slow down” that day will never come.


Maintain Smaller Spans of Care

The more people I have reporting to me, the more I end up in management mode. Most organizations are perfectly structured for the results we are getting now. We will stay the same unless we structure for growth! We need to structure our time so that managing people and relationships don’t eat up all of our time and mental energy. When we spend every waking moment wrestling with all of the people tensions and HR dilemmas, we spend our best mental energy on management instead of multiplication!

Be Careful with New Hires

Don’t hire someone new just because they will make your life or someone else’s life or ministry more manageable. When you make a new hire, ask yourself: How will they help our ministry multiply? How will they help us more effectively reach more people?  Will we be simply adding staff or multiplying our impact? Only hire a new staff person to manage something if they are going to free us up to think multiplication more. Then we had better be disciplined enough to do it.

If the new person is managing, and we fall back into management mode, then once again, no one is envisioning the future, and we haven’t gained anything by hiring someone! Here’s an exercise, take out your org chart and place “manage” or “multiply” by each staff person? How many are focused on management and how many are focused on taking new ground for the Kingdom and the church? We simply need a good mixture of both.


Shawn Lovejoy

Shawn Lovejoy (@shawnlovejoy) is the Directional Leader of CouragetoLead.com. He planted and pastored Mountain Lake Church over the last sixteen years, while also leading ChurchPlanters.com over the last decade. Shawn is the author of The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors, and Be Mean (About the Vision): Relentless Protecting The Vision. Shawn loves Jesus, his wife, his kids, the church, pastors, and College Football...in that order. His heart is coaching leaders, pastoring pastors, and helping them all conquer what is conquering them and their organizations.


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