Measuring Your Ministry

This past week has been a crazy week for me, but I think I’m ready to get back into a bit more of a routine with my blogging!

Over the past several years, I’ve seen a big shift across Christendom into hands-on, practical ways of helping people. Christians are becoming increasingly aware of issues such as human trafficking, social justice, and poverty. However, Christians are not the only people who are gaining this awareness. The world is full of people who are engaging in these issues with no profession of faith with Jesus.

I’ve been troubled by somewhat by a strange alliance that I see between those who profess Christ and those who don’t. I know that those who aren’t against us are for us, but we dare not lose the reason we do these works. As believers in Christ, we can do many good works, but unless Christ is the center and is represented well, all of them will be empty works that will be burned.

As I was discussing this with a friend, we devised the following diagram to measure ministry:

The vertical axis represents the humanitarian. This measures the practical benefit of our ministry.

The horizontal axis represents the spiritual. This measures the spiritual benefit of our ministry.

We added two marks:

The top-left “X” represents things such as drilling water wells, feeding the hungry, helping the poor, and fixing a neighbor’s leaky faucet. These are great activities but have no intrinsic spiritual benefit.

The lower-left “X” represents things such as street preaching and tract distribution. Our message to the world has no meaning if it does not include clear teaching on Jesus Christ and who He is.

From there, my friend and I divided the diagram into quadrants:

We avoid the lower-left quadrant entirely, and we creatively move everything else into the upper-right quadrant:

I am continually faced with this challenge. I can easily provide advice and teaching to fellow believers, but it can be difficult to give up my own time to help them out in practical ways. Similarly, I can easily hang out with non-believers and get to know them, but it can be difficult to leverage that platform to talk about the things that really matter. This diagram places that tension directly in front of me.

While measurements like this can be overwhelming, the most important thing is movement. In everything we do, we should move from where we are to where we need to be. We don’t aim for an equal balance between the humanitarian and the spiritual, but rather we aim for strength in both.

Making it practical is quite simple:

  • List the areas of ministry in which you’re involved.
  • Plot those areas of ministry on the diagram.
  • Find ways to move these areas of ministry into the upper-left quadrant.

(Finally, please understand that this diagram is a tool and nothing more than a tool. You may have legitimate reasons to find your ministry in a different part of the diagram. However, I believe you should be intentional with it and should be well aware of where you are and why.)

One comment

  1. matthiasmiller

    Correction: “Find ways to move these areas of ministry into the upper-right quadrant.”

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