Accountability – Step 5 In A Strategic Ministry Plan

This is the final post in a series of posts on creating a Strategic Plan for Ministry in your business. At this point, you should have a mission statement with an eternal perspective. You should have a well-defined mission field as well as a set of action plans for ministry activities that will help you to impact that mission field. Now you need to lay out the accountability processes to ensure your action plans are executed and achieve the results you desire.

Accountability

Accountability Reporting Example

Let’s take a look at an example to illustrate my point. An easy example for our company is the CCA chaplain program (Corporate Chaplains of America). We have a chaplain assigned to our company as a benefit to the employees. By permission, this chaplain speaks to each of our employees face-to-face at least once per week.

He is on call 24/7 and 365. He will meet with employees after hours for extended care sessions in person or over the phone, according to their preference. He performs funerals, weddings, and hospital visits. He prays for the company and every employee on a regular basis.

On an ongoing basis, I need to know whether this program is achieving the results I expect from it. Fortunately, CCA provides their own reporting process as part of the program. They send me a report via email at the end of each month that details the activities of the chaplain. A report like this makes it easy for me to determine whether the program is working or not.

Here is an example of their report:

accountability

Your Accountability Reporting

Your reporting may look very different. It may not be as formal or it may be more so. The format is not important. The accountability is. While each ministry activity will likely present its own measurement challenges, try to make sure there is some ability to track and measure the activities and the results (if possible).

You should have some sort of reporting for every ministry activity on your action plan. If you cannot measure it in some way, then you need to decide whether it is worth doing or not. This is not to say that you are not to do anything that you cannot measure – there are certainly exceptions. It is more about making sure that there is accountability built in to every part of your plan.

Too often, companies come up with a great idea, begin a process or initiative, and never build in accountability. Without a clue as to whether it is effective or not, they forget about it until something goes wrong or someone leaves. This is simply not being a good steward of your resources.

Measuring Ministry?

There are a couple of challenges I will note about measuring ministry. First of all, we are not able to save anyone. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. While we may count the number of times someone turns their life over to Christ during one of our activities, we certainly cannot take credit for that. We are simply celebrating!

Second, we cannot truly know the condition of any individual’s heart or whether that condition has improved in a measurable way. To attempt to measure life change or improvement is not something I recommend. I think you get it, but measuring ministry is very difficult.

As a result of these challenges, we will most often revert to simply measuring our activities in ministry. As an example, look at the chaplain’s report. We do not attempt to measure the effectiveness of the chaplain’s prayer for our company and individual employees. We simply measure the number of times he prayed. We do not attempt to measure whether his care sessions had the intended effect. We can only count the times he had them.

I think you get the idea. When dealing with the heart and spiritual matters, measuring is difficult. At the same time, we cannot just leave our efforts to chance! Therefore we do our best to discern the right activities, maintain our focus on the right purpose, and then measure our efforts. We leave the results to God.

Do you currently have any sort of ministry results reporting?

If so, do you review it as often and with the same intensity as you review your financial reporting?

I won’t ask a third question…that last one hurt too much!

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  • It makes sense to take a look at these objective and factual reports. But how do you combine this with other things like unseen strengthening of faith in your employees? How do you think prayer enters the process?

    • Great questions…both of them!

      As for the things unseen like strengthening of faith, heart change, etc., obviously you cannot really measure these. In fact, we cannot really even make these happen even if we could measure them.

      I believe these come about by the work of the Holy Spirit and the choices of the individual employees to embrace that work. I think it is only our job to make sure we correctly (according to Scripture) execute all of the steps or activities that would lead to these types of changes. I think I will do another post soon just on this question (with some examples).

      As for the role that prayer should play in the process, you have nailed something I should have included, but did not. Wow, that is a post right there – how often do we make our own plans and then ask God to bless them!!!

      Loren, prayer should be the first step in this whole process! We should be starting off with prayer, asking for wisdom, discernment, and guidance through each of the 5 steps I outlined. There should not be a step executed without prayer. Thanks for asking and pointing that out!

      I will have to follow up on that as well…I completely missed it!

      Thank you so much for your interaction here. I am learning!

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