Making a Ministry Plan

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Opportunities in Ministry!

Things Christians might need.

A Mission Plan is Worth the Results it Causes: A Missions Plan is a Business Plan because it is carrying on Godsí Plan for you!

Planning is a Process, Not Just a Plan

Keys to Better Plans

The Business Entities.

Outline order and sequence in a standard plan:


How to Start and Fund a Ministry or Outreach


Introduction  Top


*Acknowledgments: Below is an exert taken from "How to Start a Church or Christian Outreach," offered by Our Daily Bread, Bible School and a full description of the course study is located at Continuing or Community Education List of Courses and a full version of the download by email is available for $20 US. We offer this study in an effort to encourage believers into what God has called them. As a part of Outreach Consulting Services ODB, offers one one consulting, locate at Contact Us.


10 Advantages of Doing Ministry Without a Ministry Plan

by Tony Morgan

  1. You give the loudest person the opportunity to decide what happens at your church.

  2. Sharp leaders who are accustomed to serving in organizations with clearly defined plans for future growth wonít stick around your church. That means more ministry for you!

  3. Youíll get to hone your debating skills as people argue about what to do next.

  4. More meetings! Where there's no strategy, the meetings flourish.

  5. Some people call them church splits. We like to call them church plants. More mother churches!

  6. You donít have to worry about celebrating success, because no one even knows what success looks like. Itís just better to keep that a secret.

  7. Rather than trying to discern Godís will for your ministry, you can just rely on dumb luck.

  8. You donít have to pray as much, because there's nothing to pray for. As an added bonus, that means you donít have to develop as much faith eitherówhatever happensÖhappens.

  9. You can count your offerings a lot faster, because people will save their financial gifts for organizations that actually have a plan for the money they receive.

10. Your lack of ministry strategy, which is a ministry strategy, will do just fine in Nothing, Arizona.


***Please note the following. this was written without knowing what you have been called to do. This format of a ministry plan is a long version of which most do not have to use. As you will see it is fairly detailed. It can be used to start a small in home church or school all the way up to building a hospital. Obviously if called to build a hospital the plan will be far more involved and complicated than starting a ministry in your home for example, but there are several components needed in either and both:

1) Both need to be clear and readable so others can know what it is you have been called to do.

2) Both should be asking the reader to become involved in some way or as led by His Spirit.

3) Both should have a clear vision which prayerfully came from God. It could be a dream or even what you feel led to do. A vision statement is about what the vision is and what it will take to make it better.

4) Both should have a clear Mission Statement, which is a statement that you are making and the commitment made that you are making. If you are not committed then others will not be committed. In the commitment there is accountability. It is an overall statement of what will be accomplished or what fruit it will bear.

5) A Ministry plan should lay out some clear goals, with some time lines attached. For example if you are going to start a home church, first what is it that you hope to accomplish, but also what need you will be filling in the community and your goals are what you are going to do to accomplish the vision. These are goals and a good plan is updated at least twice a year looking at what was desired to be accomplished and what has been accomplished. The goals also should have a time line attached, for example, in three months what is it you hope to accomplish, six months, one year, three years and five years. Obviously it will be easier to write about and make a commitment easier in a three month phase than a five year plan.

6) Lay out the details and the costs and what it will take. Praise and prayer are key.

7) Lay out what you believe in and make it clear what you believe in and what you stand for. It is for you but also for others so they will know what they are becoming involved in.

8) If you are leading people in a direction what is it that you hope that you accomplish and what is it that you want them to accomplish.

Some of the downfalls as to why ministries may not work is in the planning and preparation phases. One can feel led but if they are not ready it is likely to be a disaster. A good plan will help you outline what key components that you will need in order to accomplish the task. If you know what is needed then you can gather the tools, people or knowledge. Don't forget Jesus is the head.

General: Planning is a very important part of the Christian walk and yet very few Christians seem to have a plan in their lives and their ministry. A plan is much like a yardstick to see if we are on track or perhaps how far off track we are. There are many good sources available on the subject of goals and planning. The important part from a Christians point of view is that once we find what our purpose is, and what are gifts are, it is important to seek God for direction on how to become what we are called to be. It is important to remember that God calls you from a perspective knowing who we are today, and what he desires for us in the future. However, it should also be pointed out knowing what He desires and becoming it may take some time. Anyone who has been called to service needs to prepare to be used. It is much like preparing the soil for use in the harvest.

There are some internal things in us that only God can change if we desire to do so. There are also some external things that we need to do to prepare for the task at hand. Some of this preparation may come from going back to school to relearn some skills forgotten. If we are called to write, for example, it may be a good idea to take some classes in writing. Some other thoughts that may come to mind are learning how to use the Internet or publish your work. It is also important, depending on the ministry, to be able to keep a set of books. The other thing that will be important is to learn how to do what you have been called to do. A start on this might be to take some studies that lead you in the right direction. Once the educational parts are completed it is time to do some practice work in the field. This may require, and may even be a good idea, to work with some who has the same calling and gifts to see how to use what you have been given.

The purpose in making a plan is two-fold; The first is to be able to see the assets and resources that you currently have, and then secondly do some planning and goal setting to gain what you do not have. This may include information and education but also may include how to finance your ministry. The next section deals with some basic ideas of how you can at least start to finance your ministry even if you are not ready to start in your ministry. It is better to look ahead, than take the perspective of looking behind, always trying to catch up.

One of the bigger reasons for the planning and goal setting stage is once written down it is easier to present these things to God in prayer, seeking His guidance. God has the ability to change things if they are somewhat formulated. Also, if we are asking for direction when making plans, being led by the Spirit, there is a very good chance that what you will be writing will be His direction. The other reason it is important to write things down is because it is then that plans begin to become real. In addition, you may desire to seek advice from someone and if is written down it will be easier for others to understand. In this ministry we have created from our vision an organizational chart and because of that we are able to estimate what the costs might be. These are all-important issues when starting anything.

Much discussion has been offered as to our authority and power that God has given us. The question is, "what for?" Is it to serve ourselves or perhaps it is so we can serve others and care for their needs. I believe that God is calling all of His children to the place where Adam was in the Garden of Eden. Adam was to look to God for all things and take care of the garden. In doing so Adam had a good relationship with God. Should we use the power to just take care of ourselves we fall into making ourselves a god, putting ourselves in the center of our lives, which is what Adam did when he ate of the fruit. Adam put Eve first in his life as He chose to listen to Eve instead of God. In other words Adam cared more about his relationship with Eve than his relationship with God.

I would also suggest that the power given to us by God is to care for others and by doing so it will strengthen our relationship with God. In Hebrews 10:24 we are admonished to provoke one another to do good works. What are the good works? Matthew 25:31-46! We as a church and as a body are either taking care of the business of God, doing these good works, or we are not. Today we as preachers tend to preach and teach more than we tend to take care of the needs of the community. We believe, for the most part, that preaching and teaching is the end result instead of the beginning. We teach people, as we teach our children, by our actions and good works than what we talk about as we are an example. We as Christians believe, for the most part, that it is more important to teach than to take care of the needs of people. If we did these good works people would be flocking to the church and we would put most preachers out of business or at least change how things are currently being done. It is a choice to go in the direction of the Tree of Life and care for the needs of others or it is a choice to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, bringing death, as Adam did.

Everyone is making the choice whether we understand it or not. Today you are making a choice and are either regarding this as Truth and will do something or you will regard it as heresy and do nothing. We are either getting together and spending our time studying or we are getting together to resolve the problems in the community such as the hungry, homeless, caring for people in prison, or those that are sick. It is a belief one way or the other. We either believe that we are here to serve God and those around us or we believe that people should be in prison or perhaps they should be sick. Beliefs, either way, are a result of the condition of our own hearts and we have been given the power of God to resolve all things or just our own personal problems.

Opportunities in Ministry! Top

In order for things to get turned around, we as Christians need to be a whole lot more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading. The harvest is ripe and we all need to be doing our part. It is difficult to know or part at times because our responsibilities seem to get in the way, or at least that is a belief. While it may be difficult to reach out and learn something new, Christianity is just that, it is about being stretched, pulled, and tested by fire. These are not exactly pictures of comfort but many of us maintain that if we are going in the right direction God will bless us. God knows that we are all special and we have all been called to His purpose, yet few seem to answer that call, except to show up to church and even perhaps tithe. We are special to the point if we do not do the job we are called to the job will not get done and as a result people will either be lost, untrained, not cared for, which all helps create a bigger mess for someone else to hopefully clean up.

Another Difficult Decisions to Make!

Satan knows how to keep us busy with all sorts of good sounding things but it is our choice to do these things and continue the behavior. Am I asking you to quit your job if that is what it takes to do what God has called you to do? Yes! That is why this program is here to help you in your finances but you are the one that needs to act upon what God is leading you to do. I do realize that God can use us where we are and He does, but either we are bearing fruit or we are not at our current job or place of business and we all need to do some self examination there. We are not supposed to be supporting worldly adventures. God gives us peace and blessing which is intended for us and His purpose but often times our peace and blessing goes to our employers which can often times make problems worse in our communities helping cover up problems instead of exposing them. A perfect example of this might be the Enron debacle. Another prime example would be Hitler coming to power during WWII. Hitler could never have come to power unless he made a covenant with the Church first.

The question is, Are we, in what we are doing bringing glory to God?

It is better that we judge ourselves, than be judged.

Things Christians might need. Top

Christians purchase things like the rest of the people in the world. The difference is we as Christians are not just there to sell goods and services to Christians but are there to serve the needs of the community. It is the love of money that is the root of evil. By being self employed and serving people in the church or the community we have a purpose as long as we are focused on resolving the needs of the community. This is His work and if we do it we will be blessed. If the intent of the formation of a business is that the business exists to glorify God and brings resolve to the needs of individuals and the community then it will be Godly, and according to His Word we will be blessed. If profits from business go to the pockets of a few and the operation or business does not bring glory to God or resolve the needs of the community, then the profits from the business will go to glorify Satan and his realm. Scripture tells us that no man can serve two masters. We either cling to one or the other.

In addition, Christians like to on occasion go out to dinner or go to a place that is uplifting such as a coffee shop. We all buy clothes and other items and all of these things can be designed around serving the body and the needs of individuals. God did leave many of these choices up to us and they all can bring glory to God if we are going in the direction that God is calling us to.

In addition to some of these ideas the following is needed in all communities across the globe:

Thrift Stores:

Used items. Much can be said about finding a good deal but also there is a need to help those in need with items in the community.

Business Supplies:

Who supplies Christian enterprise? Somebody does and every business needs support services from copiers, desks, chairs, office supplies, to other types of equipment and machinery. One of the things that are needed in this category are Christian printers to take care of the printing needs of the church and other Christian businesses.

Food Banks and Groceries:

We in the United States have been blessed but there are still people going hungry in a land of plenty. How many go hungry? If you need to ask you have not checked out the need in your local area. Truth is, there are hungry people in all areas. Having a grocery store and bakery is a great opportunity to serve God by serving the needs of the body, and those in need.

Christian Bookstores:

Education material can include CDís, Christian books, educational materials, home school curriculum material, and other materials designed to reach out to the community.


Spiritual counseling is different than counseling in the normal sense. It is about listening, intercession, giving to the person that you are dealing with, caring for their needs physically and Spiritually, and organizing a plan and effort to help the individual(s) in need.

Crisis Intervention:

We live on a planet of crisis at times. Crisis intervention is about outreach to the community. It should be a prayer hot line not only for the members of a church but all who are in need in the community in which a church exists. If we took care of the needs of individuals in the body and in the community pastors would not have to preach so much. This is because the community would know that we love God and because of our love one for another.

Fellowship Houses for:

  1. Foster care: There is a great need in every community to care for children. They are the future and they are either prepared to deal with future events through Christ or they are not. Foster care can be live in (in the traditional sense) but it can also include day care. This would provide parents of children with a safe place to keep their children, having them taught, even at a young age, the paths of righteousness.
  2. Adult Foster Care: There is need for Christian Adult Foster care homes for those that are not able to care for themselves or are at the age that they cannot any longer live by themselves.
  3. Transitional Homes for: A) Men or women being released from prison. These are homes that should help provide some structure, guidance, counseling, instruction, and job placement. B) Homes for abusive situations: This may include temporary to permanent housing for women and children leaving abusive situations. These women and children need love, some structure, guidance, counseling, instruction, and job placement. C) Temporary shelter is needed for those that are homeless. It may sound incredible but some of the things that are needed to be employed is a phone, a place to live, and references. In addition, people need to have enough stability to be confident enough to go to work. Jesus took care of the needs of individuals and as a result people followed and were grateful.

Christian Education: We need teachers and doers to walk with believers. Christian education is about promoting the Gospel of Christ but also understanding that we as a body perish for lack of knowledge. Christian education is about equipping the saint for the work of the ministry. Teaching is the beginning, resolving the need in the community is the work. Our children through Christ are our future.

Registrars: Specific to Christian education these individuals will have the ability to promote their schools, maintain student records, keeping a focus on the purpose and direction that God has called the student. A registrar will have the ability to be completely familiar with the schools course requirements, purpose, and mission.

Administrative Assistants: Assistants will have the ability to assist in all clerical and administrative duties, which include organizational skills, typing, filing, and acts as a buffer between staff and visitors or callers, and is often the publicís first contact with the school. They understand that teaching is a great task in helping people achieve what God has called them to and are focused on preparing believers for their mission.

Administrators: Administrators are gifted in organizing and exhorting believers. They are called to see the needs of the community and work towards resolving those needs. In addition, they will have the ability and gifts to organize believers in fund raising to help pay for the needs of individuals and those financial needs of the community. There is a great need for believers with the gift of administration to help start and organize local Christian schools through the church. Although registrars can be different from an administrator, administrators have the ability to help promote their school and operate as a registrar. Administrators will have the ability to work with a board of directors in accountability.

Boards: In the New Testament we see deacons that are called to serve. These individuals have the heart of a servant and are in a trusted position. Today, for the most part, these deacons are called board members. All Christian enterprise should have a board that should be familiar with the financial state of the organization they serve, familiar and supportive of the organization goals, mission, and purpose. These are individuals that should lift up the organization in prayer and are there to maintain accountability to the community and the body. Boards should work together as they know that the solution for all things is Christ and all things should bring glory to Christ.

Teaching: There are multitudes of opportunities in the teaching field that a person can make a living at. Galatians 6:6 tells us that we should support our teachers financially according to the Amplified Bible. Teachers are needed in the following areas:

  1. Adult education: Did you know that 24% of Americans are functionally illiterate? There is a great need to help those that are struggling in the basics.
  2. Adult education: There is a tremendous need for individuals to teach Cognitive Restructuring and help people learn to walk in the authority and purpose that God gave us. Most Christians today know that God has a plan for His people, but do not understand their purpose, calling, and gifts. By Christians turning back to God and His anointing, as we have been called to a royal priesthood, we can change ourselves, people in neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, and nations. By working together we can see the nations turn.
  3. Christian education, Children K-12: The next generation will either be prepared to fight the good fight, working in their purpose and calling, thus working together to establish the kingdom of God here or they wonít. It is a choice of every parent to continue to do the same things that we have always done, expecting different results, or we can stand and teach our children to take back that which Satan has stolen. It is our choice and so is the responsibility of the outcome of this planet.
  4. Christian education, Bible Schools and seminaries: Teaching students to solve the problems of society through Christ. We can make a difference.

Pastors: Pastors are needed more than ever. There are three reasons for a church:

  1. To help individuals with their needs in the community. Working to stabilize their situations. Once stabilized, then individuals and families can be taught.
  2. Train and Teach individuals that God does have a plan for them and help them discover their calling and their gifts. The next step is to teach them how to operate in their calling, in unity as one body. Teaching them that they are special and important to Godís plan and if they do not do what God has called them to do the job will not get done.
  3. Send people out that have been trained in the various ministries to accomplish their calling, supporting them until they become established in their ministry.

Pastors are also called shepherds and one of their major functions is to protect the flock. This is done physically and Spiritually, as they should organize believers for prayer and intercession. Every Spirit filled church should have a crisis prayer line, where individuals that are in need can get help and answers. Each church should endeavor to work with other churches respecting that the Holy Spirit works in others and we should pool the churches resources.

Evangelists: There is a great need for evangelists that will not get ahead of the church. It is good to lead people to the Lord but it is better to be able to deal with needs of individuals. Evangelists need to work in harmony with the church, as newborn believers need to be discipled and walked with. Part of the evangelistís job is to help prepare the church to handle the needs of new people. We need to be able to deal with all problems in the community while leading people to Christ. Once a person is saved and their needs are not met we are doing harm to the body of Christ. In doing so many sleep.

Prophets: Although the church has not readily accepted the prophet in the church the prophet is one of the keys to helping turn communities around. Besides prayer, the prophet installs, ordains, anoints, and blesses believers called into ministry (we all are called). The prophet helps bring balance to the body. The prophet also has the ability to forth tell events that will happen, unless we as believers do something about events and situations. Prophets in the Old Testament foretold events that would happen.

Apostles: It is the Prophet and the Apostle that are the legs of the church, having the ability to move the body in a particular direction which God has called it to. Without the prophet and the apostle the body will not move. Both the prophet and apostle have been given the vision. Apostles are normally gifted with faith, miracles, and lean towards administration. They organize the efforts of the outreach of the church within the community where they are serving. An Apostle shoulders it all and takes personal responsibility for the outcome. This individual not only has a heart for God but also has Godís heart.

A Mission Plan is Worth the Results it Causes: A Missions Plan is a Business Plan because it is carrying on Godsí Plan for you!  Top

From the start, remember that missions plans aren't about ideas, analysis, or presentation; they are about results. The plan is ultimately worth the decisions that you make because of it. A good plan is full of specifics that can be measured and tracked because of tracking results. The value of a plan is the decisions it influences, and ultimately, what the plan will produce. From a Christianís point of view the result cannot be measured in just dollars and cents, like a normal business, even though it is carrying on the business of God. From a Godly perspective it is about preparing the soil for the harvest. You may produce, as in the parable, a hundred, sixty, or thirty fold, but you will produce fruit according to what you have planted. Plans should be measured by results, and by using the Model you will be able to predict the results of your endeavors. It is about producing results not just sowing a bunch of seeds.

What Makes a Good Plan?

The following illustration shows a business plan as part of a process. All Godly plans will posses some similar qualities. To be successful they will begin with the fruit of the Spirit and end in the same. If the plan and ministry starts and ends with this fruit success is guaranteed. You have His Word on it; it is a Spiritual Law.

Planning is a Process, Not Just a Plan  Top

A business plan will be hard to implement unless it is simple, specific, realistic, and complete. Even if it contains the above components you should have someone to follow up and check on it. This is the part about accountability. When someone becomes a mentor to you they are making sure you are staying on track with your vision and desired outcome.

The plan depends on certain elements including commitment, involvement, tracking, and follow-up that comes afterward. Let's look at the qualities that make the plan itself better or worse. Successful implementation starts with a good plan. Some of the clues to implementation include:

1. Is the plan simple? Is it easy to understand and to act on? Does it communicate its contents easily and practically?

2. Is the plan specific? Are its objectives concrete and measurable? Does it include specific actions and activities, each with specific dates of completion, specific peopleí responsible and specific budgets?

3. Is the plan realistic? Are the sales goals, expense budgets, and milestone dates realistic? Nothing stifles implementation like unrealistic goals.

4. Is the plan complete? Does it include all the necessary elements? Requirements of a business plan vary depending on the context. There is no guarantee, however, that the plan will work if it doesn't cover the main bases.

Use of Business Plans

Too many people think of business plans as something you do to start a company, apply for a loan, or find investors. Yes, they are vital for those purposes, but there's a lot more to it. Preparing a business plan is an organized, logical way to look at all of the important aspects of a business. First, decide what you will use the plan for, such as to:

No Time to Plan? A Common Misconception

A business plan now can save time and stress later. "Not enough time for a plan," business people say. "I can't plan. I'm too busy getting things done, or I will just be led by the Spirit." Too many Christians make plans only when they have to. Unless a bank, investor, or donor want to look at a plan, there isn't likely to be a plan written. The busier you are the more you need to plan. If you are always putting out fires you should build firebreaks or a sprinkler system. You can lose the whole forest for too much attention to the individual trees.

Keys to Better Plans  Top

These key concepts will help produce better plans.

Plan "Don'ts"

Design Your Plan to Fit Your Calling

Make the contents of your plan match your purpose. Don't accept a standard outline just because it's there.

What is a Plan?

A plan is a vision that shows the reader what the outcome will prayerfully be. A plan should look ahead, having the ability to explain how you will allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities. Ministries need plans to optimize growth and development according to plans and priorities.

What is a Start-up Plan?

A very simple start-up plan is a bare-bones plan that includes a summary, mission statement, keys to success, analysis of needs, and costs associated with carrying on in ministry. This kind of plan is good for deciding whether or not to proceed with a plan, to tell if there is a need worth pursuing, but it is not enough to run a ministry with.

Is There a Standard Business Plan?

A normal business plan, one that follows the advice of business experts, includes a standard set of elements. Plan formats and outlines vary, of course, but generally, a plan will include standard components such as descriptions of the ministry, service, needs that the ministry is designed to serve, forecasts, management team, how you hope to be funded, and analysis. Your plan depends on your specific situation. For example, if you're developing a plan for internal use only, not for sending out to others, you may not need to include all the background details that you already know. Description of the management team is very important for donors, while financial history is important to banks. Make your plan match its purpose.

What's Most Important in a Plan?

What's most important in a plan? It depends on the case, but usually it's the cash flow analysis and specific implementation details.

The Standard Business Plan Outline

Here's an outline that shows the usual and customary categories in most plans today. There are predictable contents of a standard plan. For example, a good plan normally starts with an Executive Summary, which should be short and interesting. People almost always expect to see sections covering the ministry, the need, how you will meet the need, costs of operation, management, strategy, projections of supplying the need, and how you will be funded.


Outline order and sequence in a standard plan: Top

1.0 Executive Summary (Strategy & Focus: Strategy is Focus, helps you write the main summary. Fundamentals: Objectives, Mission, Vision, and Keys to Success.)
1.1 Objectives
1.2 Mission
  1. Keys to Success
2.0 Ministry Summary (Tell Your Story: Describe Your Ministry.)
2.1 Accountability, responsibility, and who is behind the ministry
2.2 History (for individuals involved, includes what is their experience) or Start-up Plan.
  1. Locations and Facilities
3.0 Products and/or Services (Tell Your Story: What You hope to do or accomplish.)
3.1 Product and Service Description
3.2 Comparison (is your service your are offering better or more to the point?)
3.3 Literature
3.4 Sources
3.5 Specifics used. (Internet, publishing, homes, etc.)
  1. Future Products and Services

4.0 Analysis Summary: (Gather information of similar ministries: Know who you will serve and their needs. Forecasting: What are the current trends and why and what will you be doing to make it better.)

4.1 Ministry Segmentation
4.2 Target Ministry Segment Strategy
4.2.1 Needs of those you are serving.
4.2.2 Trends: (What caused the need.)
4.2.3 Growth: (Is the need perpetual, short term, will the need grow, and why.)
4.3 Analysis (Summary)
4.3.1 Participants: (Will you be working with other ministries?)
4.3.2 Distribution: (How will you distribute resources.)
  1. Effects on the community in which your ministry is designed to serve. Are there any patterns and what has caused them.)
4.3.4 Others are doing the same thing in your area. Will you be making it better? If so, How?
5.0 Strategy and Implementation Summary (How you will implement the service you will be performing.)
5.1 Strategy
5.2 Values and Ethics.
5.3 Competitive Edge: (Will your service cost less or be better in some way?)
5.4 Outreach Strategy
5.4.1 Positioning Statements
  1. Cost Strategy
  2. Cost of providing services: (Will you be competitive? If so How?)
  3. Programs
5.5.1 Forecasts
5.5.2 Programs
5.6 Strategic Alliances

5.7 Milestones

6.0 Management Summary (Tell Your Story: Your Management Team, How you will deal with the need, personnel resources)
6.1 Organizational Structure
6.2 Management Team
6.3 Management Team Gaps

6.4 Personnel Plan

7.0 Financial Plan (Financial Analysis: The Bottom Line covers the Profit and Loss and General Assumptions tables. Fundamentals: Plan includes the Break-even table as part of the initial assessment. You deal with Cash Flow, the Cash Flow table and the Balance Sheet table in Financial Analysis: About Business Numbers and Financial Analysis: Cash is King, the Business Ratios table in Financial Analysis: Finish the Financial Statement)

7.1 Important Assumptions
7.2 Key Financial Indicators
7.3 Break-even Analysis
7.4 Projected Profit and Loss
7.5 Projected Cash Flow
7.6 Projected Balance Sheet

7.7 Ratios

7.8 Long-term Plan

Standard Tables and Charts: Tables and charts can present information in visual formats with greater impact that words alone. There are also some business tables and charts that are normally expected in a standard business plan. This may sound complicated but a chart or graph helps the reader understand what is being said without having to read everything. Cash flow is the single most important numerical analysis in a plan and should never be missing. Most plans will also have sales forecast, profit, and loss statements.

Form Follows Function: A ministry plan suits the needs of the ministry as well as the intended audience. For example, it might be a service or product plan, operations plan, a start-up plan, or an expansion plan. Planning is about results. Make the contents of your plan match your purpose, and adjust the outline to match your type of plan. For example, if you are developing an internal plan you don't need to include a section about your purpose. If your plan focuses on well-known existing products or services and is intended for internal use only, you may not even need to include the details. Another example that comes up frequently is the level of detail required in your ministry analysis. All ministries are looking for investors or donors so these plans need to have some convincing data to motivate the reader.

Investor Summaries and Applications: Some outside readers have additional requirements. When a plan is used to back up a loan application or to explain a concept or need to potential investors, donor, grant source, or banker it may require a special summary document as well as a complete plan. Many people, especially grant resources, that give to ministries like to see a brief summary, which will not read like a credit application. It is important to be credible giving background information about those involved. This may include educational background or information about participation in a similar type of ministry, as a part of this summary. For example: to get grants for a social service organization or ministry it is important to have someone with a doctorate. Those with that type of background will lend credibility to assisting you in raising funds. On the other hand if you or one of the others on staff or board have written a book about what you are doing, or attempting to get started, this will also aid you in your efforts. People want to know that you are credible. This may not be very spiritual but it is reality. If you develop your plan in the right way, you can use the summary paragraphs of the main sections--company, market, product, etc.--to create these summary documents.

Time Frames: Is Three Years Enough? Ministry plans can represent different amounts of time and usually do. Besides having a plan it is important to set goals for yourself to accomplish tasks one at a time. For example, you may have some further education that you need in order to accomplish your mission. Each step is a goal. Included is a method, using the five step approach at accomplishing each part of your plan. These steps are important because when you write them down they become real. You may be able to begin your ministry today with the information that you have received. Goals should be based on your vision. Many people do not necessarily receive great visions but by praying and seeking God for direction in your life, when you write your goals trust that the Holy Spirit is showing you your path (Proverbs 3: 5-9). How you can tell if it is the Holy Spirit is that whatever your goals will be in line with scripture and they will enhance the work of the body. When setting goals it is important that they include the following characteristics:

  1. Self-chosen
  2. Moderately challenging
  3. Realistic
  4. Measurable
  5. Specific
  6. Positive

Five Steps of setting Goals:

  1. Make a tentative goal statement
  2. List obstacles
  3. List resources
  4. Revise your goal statement after you have looked at both obstacles and resources.
  5. Polished Goal Statement

In addition, it is important to state your long-term goals first. Then by breaking the long-term goals into manageable and foreseeable sections, create short-term goals as a part of a long-term plan. Your time frame will depend on how long it will take you to prepare but the preparation should be in your plan. Much of the information included here is designed to get you started in a reasonably short period of time. If your focus is on writing and getting your work published there is an addition report that you may decide to purchase. It shows how to get your work published in a step by step method whether your are writing books, manuals, seminars, tracks, or even music.

This information is designed to save you time and money. As a part of your over-all plan you should look at what you wish to accomplish in a five-year time frame. This will probably be vague and it may change as time goes on. The next step is to write some three-year goals as a part of your five-year projection. The final step is to write a one-year plan, perhaps using a one-year planner as a guide, once your ministry plan is complete. If in your ministry you need to contact 300 people over he next year to get things going it is important to plan some time to get this accomplished. Ask yourself what is a reasonable period of time to accomplish each phase. Even if you only spend 20 minutes per day in the direction that God has called you in you will accomplish something over a one-year period of time. Most things either do or do not happen because people have either planned for it or not.

In basic goal setting it is important to state that you will be serving, why, and what you perceive the needs to be no matter what you will be doing. If you cannot identify whom you will be helping you will probably not be helping anyone. In your summary of you mission it is important to take ownership of your plan. God or anyone canít help you if you do not take responsibility for it.

Myths about Starting a Ministry: It is dangerous to fall in love with the idea of starting your own ministry without understanding the realities. There are several myths about operating a ministry that should be avoided at all costs. These common myths cause a lot of problems:

Ministry Names, Trademarks, Copyrights, etc. There are two concerns when starting a ministry as well as legal requirements. One is the name that you select. It should be a name that people over a period of time will recognize. The other part to think of is trademarks, service marks, logos, and slogans. These are the things that will represent your desires to accomplish your ministry. The most common misunderstanding about names is about registering, protecting, and reserving names. You can't reserve a name completely and you can't have exclusive use. Think of a ministry name like a personal name in that the first or oldest John Smith cannot claim exclusive use of that name. He can't make all the other John Smiths change their names. There are three types of names for entities: The first and simplest name is your own name, which might be enough for John Smith using Smith Publishing or John Smith, Evangelist, as an example. This kind of name normally requires no additional paperwork. The second normal common level of business names is called DBA (for "doing business as") or Fictitious Business Name, which gives an individual the right to operate under a business name with signs, bank accounts, checks, and so on. The third level is the corporation regardless of its various corporate entities. Whether they are S Corporations, C Corporations, LLCs, or non-profit corporation. A Corporation is registered at the state level and only one can have the same name in the same state. However, there is no guarantee that there won't be many businesses registered as the First Baptist Church of a particular place for example. The corporate forms will go to the state and details will depend on which state you're in.

Researching Whether a Name is Available:

  1. Search the Web. Start with your favorite searches and see whether anything turns up on the name you're considering. You can also go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web site, or, or similar search sites.
  2. Search the Internet domain names. There are several searchers that offer access to the "who is" database of Internet sites. The most traditional site for this is the one at Network Solutions.
  3. Check with the Secretary of State, Corporations Division in the state that you are in. They will search the name that you would like to use. This is usually a free service.

If nothing else works, see an attorney. This of course costs money but they will be able to help you set up non-profit status with the IRS, if you will be seeking donations. If you feel called to write a book for example, you would not have to go in this direction.

Taxpayer ID and Employer Numbers: Employer ID numbers (EIN) are assigned by the IRS and state tax authorities. If you don't have employees and you haven't established a corporation then your social security number is your federal taxpayer ID. If you've established a corporation or you have employees then you must have a federal EIN, which is assigned by the federal IRS. In most states the state assigns a separate state number.

The Business Entities.  Top

There are Six basic business entities and there are pros and conís for each:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: The simplest form is the sole proprietorship. Simply put, your business is a sole proprietorship if you don't create a separate legal entity for it. This is true whether you operate it in your own name or under a trade name. If it isn't your own name then you register a company name as a "Fictitious business name," also called a DBA ("Doing Business As"). Depending on your state, you can usually obtain this through the county government, and the cost is no more than a small registration fee plus a required newspaper ad, for a total of less than $100 in most states. The main disadvantage of the sole proprietorship is the lack of a separate entity, which means you have personal responsibility for it. If the business fails then its creditors can go after your personal assets. Tax treatment is quite simple your profit and loss goes straight through to your personal taxes. Your business income is normally on Schedule C of your tax return. This can be good or bad for your tax situation depending on where you stand with other income.
  2. Partnerships: Partnerships are harder to describe because they change so much. State laws, but a Uniform Partnership Act that has become the law in most states govern them. That act, however, mostly sets the specific partnership agreement as the real legal core of the partnership so the legal details can vary widely. Usually the income or loss from partnerships passes through to the partners without any partnership tax. The agreements can define different levels of risk, which is why you'll read about some partnerships that have general partners and limited partners, with different levels of risk for each. The agreement should also define what happens if a partner withdraws, buying and selling arrangements for partners, and liquidation arrangements if that becomes necessary.
  3. Corporations: Corporations are either the standard C corporation or the small business S corporation. The C Corporation is the classic legal entity of the vast majority of successful companies in the United States. Most lawyers would agree that the C Corporation is the structure that provides the best shielding from personal liability for owners and provides the best non-tax benefits to owners. This is a separate legal entity, different from its owners, which pays its own taxes. Most lawyers would also probably agree that for a company that has ambitions of raising major investment capital and eventually going public, the C Corporation is the standard form of legal entity. The S corporation is used for family companies and smaller ownership groups. The clearest distinction from C is that the S corporation's profits or losses go straight through to the S corporation's owners, without being taxed separately first. In practical terms, this means that the owners of the corporation can take their profits home without first paying the corporation's separate tax on profits, so those profits are taxed once for the S owner and twice for the C owner. In practical terms the C Corporation doesn't send its profits home to its owners as much as the S Corporation does, because it usually has different goals and objectives. It often wants to grow and go public or it already is public. In most states an S corporation is owned by a limited number (25 is a common maximum) of private owners and corporations can't hold stock in S corporations, just individuals.
  4. LLC (Limited Liability Company): Be careful with this one because the LLC form is different in each state, with some advantages in some states that aren't relevant in others. An LLC is usually a lot like an S corporation, a combination of some limitation on legal liability and some favorable tax treatment for profits and transfer of assets. This is a newer form of legal entity, and often harder to establish than a corporation. Why would you establish an LLC instead of a corporation? That's a tough legal question not one we can answer here. In general, the LLC has to be missing two of the four characteristics of a corporation (limited liability, centralized management, continuity of life, and free transferability of ownership interest). Still, with the advisability and advantages varying from state to state, here again, this is a question to take to a good local attorney with small business experience.
  5. Non-Profit Corporations: The difference between a regular corporation and non-profit is not whether a non-profit makes a profit or not. Regular corporations can go public or be publicly traded on one of the stock exchanges. Non-profit is a misnomer as they are really a non-stock corporation owned or controlled by its members. An example of this of course would be a church.
  6. Charter Organizations: Having a charter with an organization allows you the privileges of having a regular corporation but without having to go through the initial expense. Often times charters are offered in church organizations and once a charter is secured the charter member group or church becomes a part of the parent corporate entity. Usually as a part of the agreement, covenant or contract with the parent corporation, charters must fill out quarterly statements show some levels of activity. Another plus of working under a charter is that usually the parent organization or church will help the charter member in the set up process in advice and sometimes even finances.

Problems of Corporations: One of the basic problems inherent to all corporations is that the people entering into the corporation are entering a partnership with the state, which for the Christian may have long term consequences. One of the problems is that to have a corporation you agree to obey all the laws of the land whether they are biblically correct or not. A minor example of this might be ordination. It is God who calls and ordains, giving authority to an individual to do what they have been called to do, not the state or government. Today for the most part to be a legally ordained minister able to perform marriages one must be licensed by the state. The problem with this is that it compromises God, the church, and takes a power away from the church. In addition, the government by decree of the IRS decides what a church is or is not. The problem with this is the state, not God, controls whether a church will exist or not. The state also decides who is a teacher and who should have a school or not. Originally in this country it was the task of the church. Non-profits are a business also.

A Simpler Plan for Start-ups






Executive Summary










Keys to Success







Product Description



Analysis Summary













Competitions and Patterns



Implementation Summary




Competitive Edge







Management Summary



Financial Plan



Break-even Analysis




Projected Profit and Loss

Profit and Loss



Projected Cash Flow

Cash Flow

Cash Flow

Ultimately, the choice of plan isn't based as much on the stage of business as it is on the type of business, financing requirements, and business objective. Here are some important indicators of the level of plan you'll need even as a start-up:

Some of the simpler businesses keep a plan in the head of the owner but every business has a plan. Even a one-person business can benefit from creating a plan document with ideas written down because the process is valuable. The exercise of producing a plan is a useful process.

As soon as a second person is involved the need for planning multiplies. The plan is critical for communicating values, goals, strategies, and detailed implementation.

As soon as anybody outside the company is involved then you have to provide more information. When a plan is for internal use only you may not need to describe company history and product features. Stick to the topics that add value, that make you think, that help support decisions. When you involve people outside your ministry then you need to provide more background information as part of the plan.

For discussion purposes text is enough to get a plan started. Try describing your mission, objective, keys to success, target market, competitive advantage, and basic strategies. How well does this cover your mission idea?

Can you live without an income and expense forecast? Sometimes the one-person business keeps numbers in its (the owner's) head. However, it's much easier to use some tools that can put the numbers in front of you and add and subtract them automatically. That's where a plan helps.

Do you really know your market? A good market analysis can help you see opportunities that might not otherwise be obvious. Understand why people buy from you. What are the needs being served? How many people are out there as potential customers?

Do you manage significant amounts of inventory? That makes your cash management more complicated and usually requires a more sophisticated plan. You need to buy inventory before you sell it.

Do you sell on credit or do business on credit? If you are a business selling to businesses, then you probably do have to sell on credit and that normally means you have to manage money owed to you by your customers, called accounts receivable. Making the sale is no longer the same thing as getting the money. That usually requires a more sophisticated plan.

Do you do your taxes on a cash basis or accrual basis? If you don't know and you are a very small (one person, maybe 2-3 people) business, then you're likely to be on a cash basis. That makes your planning easier. However, most businesses big enough to work with a CPA and have separate tax statements use accrual accounting because they want to deduct expenses as they are incurred, even if they aren't fully paid for. By the time you are using accrual accounting, you'll probably need more sophisticated cash flow tools and a more extensive business plan.

As you approach banks and other lending institutions, expect to provide more detail on personal net worth, collateral, and your business' financial position. Some banks will accept a very superficial business plan as long as the collateral looks good. Others will demand to see detailed monthly projections. No bank can lend money on a business plan alone; that would be against banking law. But a good bank wants to see a good plan.

If you're looking for venture investment, take a good look at your plan. Professional investors will expect your plan to provide proof not just promises. They'll want to see market data, competitive advantage, and management track records. They'll want to see robust and comprehensive financial projections. True, you'll hear stories about investors backing new companies without a plan but those are the exceptions not the rule.

Realistic Start-up Costs: Ministries and businesses spend money before they ever open their doors. Start-up expenses are those expenses incurred before the business is running. Many people underestimate start-up costs and start their business in a haphazard, unplanned way. This can work but is usually a harder way to do it. Customers are wary of brand new businesses with makeshift logistics. Use a start-up worksheet to plan your initial financing. You'll need this information to set up initial business balances and to estimate start-up expenses, such as legal fees, stationery design, brochures, and others. Don't underestimate costs.

Friends and Family Funding: Although you don't want to rule out starting your company with investments from friends and family don't ignore some of the disadvantages. Go into this relationship with your eyes wide open.

A Note: Depending on the reader your ministry may become a for profit or nonprofit entity depending on your calling. Some of you maybe called to start a profit or stock corporations i.e. church supplies, printing, furniture, school supplies, educational books, etc. While on the other hand you maybe called to start a more traditional type of nonprofit ministry. Either way you will need a good plan that others can read and understand and one that will keep you on track.


It would be safe to say that the things that are occurring today did not happen overnight. It took time to arrive where we are. It will also take time to fix the problems that are there. No one is trying to indicate otherwise. What is being said is that we as Christians have been given the power of God to deal with the problems not just avoid them. Christ died to give us His power. In the Old Testament only kings, prophets, and priests could have the power and anointing of God. According to the New Covenant, all may have the power of the Holy Spirit. The reason kings, prophets, and priests were given this power is that they were personally responsible to God for everything. Jesus was also given this power as He also took on the responsibility of everyone. Power comes with responsibility and doing.

It is perhaps because the church in general has not taken the responsibility, except to preach that there is very little power in its words. This is perhaps critical but I am also a part of the church and I have made the decision, at least in my own life, to learn the difference between fiction, beliefs, and what we perceive as truth. What I have found for the most part is that many things that I thought were true are beliefs. This is an area that I choose not to go back to but desire to continue in the Light. I pray that all those reading this also will be challenged to do so. It has made a difference in my life as a teacher, pastor, missionary, and as a servant. Today I donít preach much as I am resolved to learn to walk with others, listen to what they have to say, and help where I can.

Together we can make a change. We can make a difference but we must have the resolve to do so. We judge others not just by judging right or wrong activities, but whether we decide to intercede for a lost world, with lost beliefs and become involved. A priest is one who intercedes to God for relief from other peopleís current realities. Not because we have attained, but because we feel empathy, realizing we are in the same boat. However, having said this, it is up to us to decide to put our deck chairs in the back or the cruise ship, looking to the past (never getting anywhere) or put our chair in the front having the ability to gaze at the Son and a bright future. Which will you choose?