So often in ministry there is a gap between knowing and doing. We might know there are children struggling with hunger both in our own community and halfway across the globe. But we don’t know what we are supposed to do about it.
These 3 D’s—Discover, Design, Do—will help you take the steps necessary to close the gap between knowing and doing. Running any scenario through the process should net you a relevant and specific goal and a plan to achieve it.
Give it a try—run a scenario through the steps and see what you come up with!
- Discover—Before you can figure out what a “win” looks like, you have to assess the playing field. This means making sure you have a crystal clear, assumption-free, objective understanding of your reality. Discovery—which can be carried out through any combination of primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative research methods—is the first step you must take to reveal the true condition of the community you seek to serve.
Let’s demystify what research is; it’s merely a discovery of the truth. Research is often prophetic to your mission.
- Ask—this could be as simple as canvassing the community you seek to serve—like we did in Avondale—and asking them what their greatest needs are, gathering local data about crime rates, poverty, education, foster care or prison systems, etc.
- Listen—this step is not always easy because the answers you get might be different than what you were anticipating—like our eye-opening experience in Malawi. Systematic listening, good research and seeking to understand are key.
- Examine—collect the data, all of it, and commit to giving them what they know they need, not what you think they want. This happened to us in Togo, where our research prophetically spoke into our ministry design plan.
Now you need to discover a little more about yourself and your members. Talk to anyone who will be doing the serving and carrying out the plan!
- Ask—your members about their gifts and assets, what they perceive as God’s call on their individual and corporate lives.
- Listen—again, the hardest part because so often we are tempted to hear what we want to hear. Commit to really listening to the heartbeat of your members—how their greatest passions, gifting, skills and desires can meet real need presented by the voice of the community.
- Examine—the need of the community of beneficiaries you seek to serve, and weigh it against the gifting, assets and call of your members to ensure they are all in alignment.
- Design—now that you have identified a specific need, it’s time to envision what you and your members ought to do in order for Kingdom change to happen.It will take a unique blend of inspiration and ideation, key partners and influencers sitting around the table to design with your unique challenges in mind. It’s a little exciting and scary all at the same time as you invite others into the room—sometimes outside entities like government, medical, school or other experts who are going to be necessary—to generate new ministry paradigms and customized strategies for you to implement. These meetings need to be open space to be:
Instead of coming into these meetings with “here’s what we have…do you want to use it?” your approach to these meetings ought to have a “what do you need, how can we help you get/create what you need?” tone instead.
Good design always leads to action. Which leads us to our last step!
- Do—this is the easy part, because it is what the Church is designed for! The Church exists in this world to make disciples and elevate the Gospel, namely through proclamation and demonstration—word and deed.
Important to note in the Do phase is that you can’t always do it all yourself, sometimes you needto partner. If your self-discovery revealed that you do not have a specific skill, asset, or expertise needed to best serve your beneficiaries, then you should consider partnership an excellent option—especially if there is already someone doing a good job of filling this need and they just need additional support. Amazing things have come out of the partnerships we have leveraged over the years when we brought our expertise to the table of someone else with a different area of specialty. Some examples include working with Evangelism Explosion to develop a practical tool in the special edition Book of Hope to beused in the Kids Evangelism Explosion program, or more recently with Bible app experts, YouVersion, to develop the Bible App for Kids.
- Share—if you’ve got the tools, the space, the volunteer power, or the resources to help fulfill one-off needs unearthed during your Discovery or Design process, don’t hoard them or hold them back. Practice generosity with your resources.
- Act—get set to put the plan in motion. Mobilize, enable, catalyze, organize, and do whatever you have to do to get started. “Don’t wait. The time will never be ‘just’ right.” ― Napoleon Hill
- Implement—let’s see what God can do through you!
This is simply a primer to get you started. Soon I’ll go more in depth about the importance of building mechanisms for assessment into your ministry design. Because,
“What’s measured improves” ― Peter F. Drucker
If you’re interested in experiencing this process or learning more, sign up for one of our upcoming workshops.
For further reading: