Ministry Starting, Movement Building
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Diagnose and Tailor Your Ministry Strategy

seams“Far too many new leaders don’t effectively diagnose their situations and tailor their strategies accordingly. Then, because they don’t understand the situation, they make unnecessary mistakes.”–Michael Watkins from The First 90 Days

Tim Casteel shared this quote in the comments of a previous post titled Giving Away Your Ministry. I fell into this category as a new leader and learned this lesson experientially.

A new leader often thinks the people are what need to be diagnosed and “fixed.”

A seasoned leader knows that the people will never be “fixed” until the resources, structures, and leadership culture match the current reality and propel the ministry toward the mission, vision, and values.


Resources (leaders, laborers, and loot) must align around the long-term (1-3 years) and towards expansion. Sometimes ministries spend most of their resources on the short term and towards enhancement (better coffee and doughnuts), yet wonder why their numbers stay the same year after year.


It’s so easy to either under design or over design your ministry by adding more or not enough teams/groups/committees. The best way to know is by figuring out the ratio of leaders to laborers. If over 50% of your ministry is leaders then chances are you have over structured. Under 20% and you may have under-structured.

Leadership Culture:

With leaders the question to ask is “what kind?” rather than “how many?” when evaluating. 4 high quality/high skill leaders will easily outperform 10 or even 15 low quality (in terms of alignment to the mission, vision, and values, and character)/low skill ones. Curating and pruning your leadership team often will yield a tremendously powerful leadership culture in a few years.

What have you learned about diagnosing and tailoring your leadership strategy?

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