This blog entry is by guest blogger Steve Ogne, church planter coach and consultant with CRM. Steve and I worked together for a decade and collaborated on several projects together, including The Church Planter’s Toolkit. Steve’s most recent publication is TransforMissional Coaching: Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World.

Most of us will say we want our church to be about mission for lost people, yet we spend the majority of our time and energy on ministry to Christians. I’d like to introduce here an evaluation tool to assess your balance between ministry and mission. In this context, I’m defining the terms this way:

  • Ministry:  Those teams and activities that primarily exist to care for Christians and their children
  • Mission:   Those teams and activities that primarily exist to connect with and serve lost people

A simple evaluation of your church can be very revealing. Create a two column chart:

Ministry teams Mission teams









On the left, list all the ministry teams and activities that exist primarily to serve Christians. Generally this list will include worship services, small groups and their leaders, and children’s ministries.

On the right, list all activities exist primarily to reach lost people. (Remember the word primarily. Yes, lost people can attend your worship service, but is it primarily for them?)  This list will generally include the missions team, which in many cases exists primarily to pay other people to reach lost people. Add any other activities you’re doing to intentionally reach lost people.

Then make a list of observations. Most churches will discover that they have ten ministries to Christians for every one mission to lost people. A second common observation is that most ministries for Christians happen weekly, while most missions to lost people happen monthly, quarterly, or even annually. This indicates that 70% to 90% of our activity and energy is focused on care for each other, not on the assignment Jesus gave us to go and make disciples.

What would it look like for your church to have one externally focused mission to lost people for every one internally focused ministry to those already within the church?