The Real Power of Ministry Programs

When done correctly, programming for ministry is about forming relationships. We’re always hearing how important community is in our culture.  Truth be told, it’s always been a need.  Since human beings were created, they’ve longed for community.  At its essence, programming sets an order and time for planned events. It creates the framework for relationships to be built.  Programs alone may seem like a stale word, but there is power in programming.  Here are the reasons we should take ministry programming seriously:


It Forms Relationships

Ministry programs allow people to easily form relationships. Why do you have a regular worship time that is set each week?  It makes it possible for people to attend – to come.  Ministry programs are the catalyst for community developing opportunities.

Focuses On The Question of Who

Set ministry programs can run for a season so there isn’t such a focus on what but on who.  For example, a weekly children’s ministry program that is set up, calendared and planned opens up space and freedom to focus on kids and not structure.

Focuses Our Attention on Invitation

Regular programs free us up from having to continually invest ways to invite people in. When a program is in place, an invitation can occur naturally.  “We meet every Tuesday and you’re invited to come with me!”

Creates Habits, Traditions, and Rituals

Programs create rituals, habits and traditions that allow people to connect and learn. People of all ages love traditions. Growing up, there were traditions that happened around ministry programs – going to church camp, taking part in Christmas or Easter musicals, and going with the student ministry group on summer trips. There were also family traditions we had centered around programs – Wednesday evening schedules, Christmas Eve Services, Sunrise Services for Easter.  When I reminisce, I don’t think of those things as a ministry program, but as a part of my tradition and faith building experiences.

Creates Systems To Ease The Burden

Once in place, programs free up leaders to work with people. I once heard that a system is anything designed to save you stress, time, energy and money. Programs are little systems – where everyone is up to speed on the part they play.  At times, we have to refocus the effort to make sure the program is running smoothly, but for the most part, the program details can be taken care of easily.  After the initial work, our time can be filled working on our main priorities – connecting with people.


Here are a few reminders about programs:

  1. Ministry programs should be as excellent as they can be.
  2. Ministry programs should line up with your mission and should support it, not dictate it.
  3. Ministry programs should be led by a passionate person.
  4. Ministry programs are a tool to be used, not to be worshiped.
  5. Ministry programs have a life span and shouldn’t last forever.
  6. When a program has reached its end, retool, reinvent or retract.  Don’t stay in a rut.


What program in your ministry needs some attention? Are you burdened with too many programs?  Are programs working for you? To whom might you delegate a portion of your program work hours?

The real power in programs, once set up, can help us keep our focus on reaching and connecting with people.

I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leaders, student ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.



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