STARTING A CHRISTIAN MISSION OR MINISTRY
Today more than any other time in history, there has been a great Spiritual awakening, renewal or movement. People can sense things are happening and those things are moving ahead rapidly. Many people have asked how to start a ministry as they want to be a part of something. Believers globally are beginning to realize that we all have been called to do something and desire to get involved in some level or other but often times are not sure what exactly to do.
Here is a brief checklist of things that you should consider while you are moving forward:
1) Know, not just Believe that you have been called: Make sure that you are called and to which field that you have been called. This is something to pray about as you begin the process and you can begin the process while praying.
Certainly, pray that God gives you confirmation, the ability, and the where with all to carry out what you believe that you have been called to do. Are you being called to start a ministry totally independent and on your own or are you being called to start a ministry and work with an organization which depending on the organization and often times resources, will help you get started.
2) Preparation: After deciding which organization that you are going to affiliate yourself with, the next step is to make sure that you are prepared. Scripture tells us that my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge and vision. This lets us know that while vision is important in the scheme of things it is also important to have the education and training behind you.
Some ministry opportunities take months while others may take years. In addition to education there is a need for mentorship. Mentorship is an important part of the process. Mentorship offers Godly advice and prayer support for you. The other part of the educational process is on the job training or Internship experience. Internship gives valuable experience but it also lets people know that you are willing to follow through. Everyone will follow through when things are going well, but God wants to know when things seem to be falling apart on the outside and that you indeed trust Him.
3) Legal Considerations: Besides the normal legal consideration like having a church or organization charter if you are going to go with an established ministry, there are the costs of articles of incorporation, which either will give you a legal entity to work from. In addition to legal status there may be further legal considerations from anywhere from meeting certain fire codes, depending on the ministry, to state licenses which may have to be applied for. If you work with and existing ministry under a charter, that ministry will be able to help you further in this area and other areas that you may not know about.
4) Building a Support Team: Behind all good and stable ministries is a team of people willing and called to pray for your ministry. This is a step like many of these steps that take time to build. The larger the number of your prayer partners, the larger your outreach will be. It is where the battles begin. It is where the Spiritual warfare is done. Your prayer support team is as important, if not more important than the rest of these steps.
5) Funding: Funding is a major concern to all that are in ministry. One would like to think that the funds will just be there when needed, but funding is much like finding people that are willing to pray for your ministry. It is difficult to go forward without prayer or funding. Although there are a few ministries that have taken off quickly, the majority struggle with how to raise enough funds to match the need, especially if that ministry is attempting to raise funds for projects like feeding the hungry or helping provide shelter. These are costs above your cost of operation and should be looked at closely.
6) Test Your Ministry: A final word about getting started. As you decide to go forward be aware that often times you may feel led, the time may not be right even though there seem to be doors that are open to you today. Doors do not always stay open and some ministries are designed by God even to be open, but for a short period of time. Not to cast doubt, but often times before one starts in ministry we instead are to just pray. This leads us back to step one. It is important to have in place enough of these steps in order to be able to test your ministry as Paul wrote.
7) Work in Unity: Realize that you are a work in progress and although you should stand in faith, you are not complete although at times you may feel that you are. You are part of the body and need to learn to work with the body. Scripture tells us that we can do all things through Christ. That is a true statement but how we define Christ makes the difference whether we are on the right track or not. Many believers define Christ as just Jesus. Those that do look at Him as an external force as he is out there; The other interpretation is that Jesus is the head, but we are the body. He was the light and the salt of the earth, no doubt, but so are we. In that understanding comes the anointing, but with the anointing comes responsibility and maturity of knowing that we are responsible for the outcomes. He died in order to give us the tools, but it takes time in order to learn to use the tools.
It is also important to remember that in Paul’s case, it took twelve years from the time of His conversion on the road to Damascus to the actual time that he started in his ministry. This may sound discouraging as we all want to be good firemen or women and put out the great fire, but God in His wisdom not only desires that you go forward, but at the same time does not want you to fall on your face. Learn to reach out and ask questions, but also learn to trust that the reason what is in front of you is placed there because God put it there.