Write this down: the greatest guarantee of effective ministry is always the "next step".
What does this mean? It means often we spend much time in ministry thinking about what we can do, planning what we should do, reviewing what we missed, talking about how it could have been better and even being told exactly what to, but much less time doing it.
If we really want our ministries to be effective we must be far more action oriented than we are. We must become "doers" instead of "talkers".
Here are four basic steps to help you engage in action oriented ministry:
1. Review everything. In order to decide on a "next step" you have to know where you've actually been. This happens when we diligently and critically review what we've done. There are 4 basic questions to ask in reviewing something: what was the goal, was it achieved, were we happy with the result, and can we do better?
2. Seek counsel. Often the next step eludes us because we simply can't see it. We are blind to it from our particular vantage point or perpsective. See what other people think. Listen to them. There are far too many Lone Rangers in vocational ministry. The Bible says wise people get a lot of counsel.
3. Develop a plan. Once you have assembled th data decide on a plan. How will you achieve what you think you should be doing? What will make your efforts easier, your ministry more effective, God more glorified, people more connectd to Him, etc. How do you get to your goal?
4. Identify the "next step". It's at this point that we often sputter out. Plans can be overwhelming, goals can seems daunting. Someone once said, "The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step" and the same is true of ministry. Be aware of the goal, but focus on the "next step." What's the VERY first thing that needs to happen next?
5. Take the next step. Now, to quote Nike, just do it. Take that next step. When the reviewing, talking, and planning are done, put action to your plan. Often the next step is miniscule and we wind up putting it off only to never return to it. The world is waitig for you to change it and it begins with the "next step".