How Pastors Can Create More Ministry Capacity This Year
by Nathan Artt, on March 2020
Ministry capacity isn’t about your personal bandwidth as a pastor. It’s about the capacity your building has to facilitate ministry. At Ministry Solutions, we guide numerous executive teams through this practice. Whether you are building or have an existing space, it’s important to accurately assess your income and expenses in terms of the people you serve.
For example, a multi-million dollar renovation that updates your sanctuary but doesn’t add a single seat hasn’t actually contributed to your ministry capacity. You can’t invite anyone new, which could've been a potential giver. Realistically, this means that your return on investment is zero.
Four Ways to Increase Ministry Capacity
Church buildings don’t have tenants and churches don’t have traditional customers. While they aren’t buying a consumable good, each person in your church does have the potential to give. Donating their time, services and money is a way that your people respond to the message of the gospel. Church work is unique in that pastors don’t exercise sales techniques to coerce people to invest. We believe that God does a supernatural work to inspire the fruit of generosity. This means that there is no A = B formula for success. And that’s okay.
A pastor’s role is to create more opportunities for people to grow. People do fund ministry: that is how it works. The more people you have, the more ministries you can fund. This means that wise pastors will invest in biblical teaching that leads to a generosity culture AND make strategic decisions about ministry capacity in their facility. Here are four ways you can improve your ministry capacity this year.
1. Evaluate Your Space
Perform a facility and equipment assessment. This will give you a realistic idea of your current capacity. You may even find that the angle of your chairs has been off for five years, and you can fit in two more rows.
Include a survey in your assessment. Find out what people (staff and congregation) think about your current facilities. There are ways to immediately save money with your facility and maybe even increase ministry capacity in the meantime.
Can you convert elements of your building to be more energy efficient?
Are all of the ministries in the right spot? Could any be swapped to accommodate the right number of people?
What kind of event space do you have?
2. Optimize Your Space
Some church administrative consultants will recommend renting your space to a for-profit organization. There are some tax and income issues you will have to consider to pull that off. There are other ways you can optimize your space. Consider hosting opportunities.
Do you have an outdoor space that could accommodate food trucks for a food festival?
Could you host weddings or graduation parties?
How could your facility be an event destination for the community?
This can increase revenue and your visibility and impact in the community.
3. Create Margin
Whatever church model you have, it’s vital that you make good choices about your loan repayments and other finances to create a margin. A margin means that you will have a buffer when you make financial decisions. This free space, in which you aren’t spending every penny that comes in, gives you the freedom to make decisions about your money. This is important as you look to make building improvements or even look to a new building that will increase your ministry capacity.
If you have a multisite model, every campus location should grow to self-sufficiency. This may seem impossible at first. However, it’s vital that individual campuses aren’t dependent on the parent location for a long time. This will be a constant drain on the parent church resources and create resentment. If you need guidance for how to move toward this, there are many financial strategies that you can put into place. Ministry Solutions has helped numerous churches launch self-sufficient campuses. It is possible.
Ministry Capacity is Important.
Ministry Capacity isn’t about measuring your people in terms of dollars or refusing to rip out 50-year-old chandeliers because there is no ROI. At the heart, it’s about carefully measuring everything you do in Kingdom terms. There is nothing wrong with modernizing your building or replacing your pews. Ultimately, churches should be about reaching people. Updating or upgrading with ministry capacity in mind will keep you laser-focused on your Kingdom goals.