Steps to Starting a Ministry


How to get things going

  •  Find others who share your vision —
    List the names of those people who want to start the ministry with you. They want to reach the same people you’re trying to reach.
  •  Formulate a mission statement —
    Determine the mission of your ministry. Your mission statement should be one sentence that summarizes what the ministry is to accomplish. For example, it could be to train young parents in raising Christian families. Or it could be to provide supportive Christian fellowship for single adults. Or it could be to evangelize the Hispanic neighborhood within a one-mile radius of the church. Usually a mission statement starts with the word “to,” and the second word is a verb.How do you know what the mission of your ministry is? It’s not a matter of your making it up out of thin air. Rather, you must carefully and prayerfully consider the following questions:

    • What are God’s mandates in Scripture? What does He require all Christians to do?
    • What gifts has He given you and your team?
    • What kind of people do you and your team have a deep burden for?

If you can answer the above questions, you will be better prepared to determine what kind of people you should be reaching out to, and what kind of service you’ll provide them, and why your group should exist.

If you are starting a ministry or group, write your mission statement below:

  •  Formulate your ministry’s “personality” —
    List two to seven primary points that will characterize your ministry group. This is your ministry’s “style.” Perhaps it is warm fellowship, or intense Bible study, or prayerful worship, or a combination of these. If you believe that your group is unique, and that there is no other group like it, be sure your list of points reflects your group’s uniqueness. Show how your group is distinctive in such areas as worship, education, evangelism, service, fellowship, administration, and doctrine. Now, list the several points of your group’s personality:

    With these first two steps, mission and personality, you have just formulated your group’s “Philosophy of Ministry,” sometimes called “Concept of Ministry,” or “Vision.”

  •  Communicate the vision —
    Be sure that everyone in the group, now and in the future, knows the vision of the new group. Everyone should know the reason why the group exists. That way, the whole group will work together in the same direction. It also prevents certain individuals from dividing the group, pulling it apart. It prevents, for example, a person from trying to introduce heavy doctrinal studies to a group that was primarily meant for creating friendships. A boat goes nowhere if everyone is rowing in different directions, no matter how hard everyone rows. In the same way, your ministry will go nowhere unless you communicate to everyone the direction that the group is supposed to go.Below are some ideas for effectively communicating the vision of your ministry.

    • Develop an easily remembered slogan
    • Have any ministry leaders sign the vision statement of the ministry.
    • Include a summary of the vision in any literature that you hand out.
    • Review the vision statement (concept of ministry) regularly at organizational meetings.

    List some ways of how the vision of the your ministry can be communicated effectively:

  •  Set objective goals —
    Goals bring your vision to a clear focus. Your vision will have more concreteness if you set concrete goals. Good goals should be specific, measurable, attainable yet faith-stretching, and time-limited. For example, the goal of Friendship Community Church was to give birth to a daughter congregation by October, 1995. List below the objective goals of your ministry:


How to handle the details

Organizing is turning something complicated into something simple. For starting ministries, organizing is the task of gathering all the endless details so that they will make simple sense. This is important, because sometimes missing a small detail may be catastrophic to the ministry. For example, forgetting to announce your group’s first meeting in the church bulletin may mean that no one will come.

  •  Remember the two-step process: Visualize & Strategize —
    It’s simple! Every project, whether large or small, is really a two-step process. So let’s start with your new ministry. You’ve already “visualized,” i.e. you have articulated your ministry’s vision. Now “strategize,” i.e. list the steps to get there. First, list the steps or phases of a one year plan. This will be your “master plan.” Then, for those steps which are really projects in themselves, use a separate sheet of paper to describe the details of each of those steps. Your goal in planning projects is to eventually form “recipes” out of your planning worksheets, where the big project is broken down into smaller projects, and the smaller projects into even smaller projects, and the smallest projects broken down into specific tasks.
  •  Plan your first meeting well —
    If you are starting a group ministry, the first meeting is crucial. It should start off with a bang. Pay special attention to publicity. If you are starting a Bible study and fellowship group for adults, see the article “How to Begin Small Groups and Make Them Multiply” for tips on the first meeting.
  •  Don’t forget to plan your follow-up process —
    The project is not over until the thank-you notes are written, the bills paid, the facilities cleaned-up, etc. Don’t make it hard for yourself when you have to start a similar project the next time. Don’t leave the project a bad image.


When the vision becomes reality

This is where actual ministry begins. In this phase, the leader delegates tasks to people, encourages others, teaches others, supports and cares for others. These skills will be discussed in detail in subsequent workshop sessions.


  1. What are the three phases of starting a ministry or group?
  2. What are the two basic steps in planning projects?
  3. In your own words, what is a mission statement?