Five Ironclad Policies Every Ministry Should Have

By on July 1, 2006   /   Leave a comment

While parenting sons who now are 18, 19, and 20, I’ve seen the value of “tough love.” Over the years, creating firm family policies have given us a sense of direction, stability, even protection. I’ve got a long way to go in leading our family and ministry, but I have experienced the benefit of forming (and enforcing) basic practices that help everyone succeed.

Most ministries don’t create this brand of organizational DNA at their founding. I have seen a few groups attempt to “re-create” their DNA after struggling for years, but there is a price to pay. You, as a leader of the ministry, must possess a total “buy in”. Why? Because your commitment and follow through must be ironclad : “so firm, so secure, as to be unbreakable.”

For para-church ministries that require staff to raise their personal support, I suggest these policies that can help produce the unity and longevity you yearn to see in your staff:

1. Leaders must raise personal support:
True leaders don’t ask staff to do something they are not. Yes, the leadership raises organizational funds, but this is different. Credibility and authority (to even create and enforce these policies) comes when the leaders are willing to start from scratch and put together 100% of their own monthly, personal support.
Result: MORALE

2. Thorough preparation and training:
You’ll do ministry just like you raise support. You raise support just like you prepared to raise support. You prepare to raise support the way you were trained . You’ll never regret spending extensive time and money getting everyone on your staff the best possible training.

3. Strong accountability every week:
During the support raising time, make sure every staff has a very detailed accountability partner he reports to every week—like Monday morning. Require the support raiser to fill out a standardized document that lists weekly goals and measurable results. Hint: An accountability partner with some spine has a way of strengthening our backbone too!

4. 100% BEFORE reporting to assignment:
You’ll be doing your staff a huge favor by not letting them start their ministry, or even move to their assignment, until they have reached at least 100% of their budget—not pledges or one-time gifts, but monthly checks in hand. Fudging on this removes all the (healthy!) pressure the staff and donors feel to quickly get to full support.

5. Connect with supporters at least bi-monthly:
Every other month is not too often to require your staff to thank and communicate with their ministry partners. A call, a note, or a newsletter at least every 60 days tells those supporters you care about them and value their investment in you.

If you choose to implement “ironclad” policies like these, you’ll see dramatic results in your staff, their marriages, job performance, and support. Take the long look and realize that shortcuts only short circuit. Tough love. It can sometimes be the very best kind.


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