Assess Present Situation - NOW

Now How Then
What is the present state of
   •   your ministry?
   •   your target group?
How do you go from now to then?

In other words, what activities / programs will help reach your goals?
What would you like to see existing at a specific time in the future?

In other words, what are your goals / objectives?

Now ... deals with key facts related to your plan. Take a realistic look at your existing resources, the present state of the ministry, the target audience and the external environment in which your ministry is operating.

  1. Existing Resources

    1. What are the gifts, strengths and weaknesses of your staff?

    2. What is the degree of teamwork among the staff?

    3. How many volunteers can you call upon for help at short notice?

    4. How wide and deep is the financial support base of your ministry?

      • Width of support base: The number of active supporters in your database

      • Depth of support base: The number of supporters who identified with the ministry and who can be called upon to give sacrificially

    5. How many people attend your prayer meetings?

  2. Present state of ministry

    An organisation is defined to a large extent by its people; people come and people go and as a result, the organisation changes.

    1. On what activities are your staff spending most of their time?

      Remember that people tend to gravitate to what they are comfortable with; and what they are comfortable with may not be important or needed.

    2. Are these activities in line with your organisation's mission?

      It is important to make an assessment of your ministry activities. Do these activities help reach your goals?

      The danger is that your staff may get onto a track that has some semblance to the original mission but it is not the original mission. They cruise along and should they settle into it then it is hard to extricate them to change direction.

  3. Target Audience

    1. How big is your target audience? Are statistics available? If so, where can you get these statistics?

    2. Where can your target audience be found?

    Every ministry has a mode of operations ... a way of working / ministering among its target audience. Your target audience is continuously changing and your ministry has to change its mode of ministry to remain relevant. For example, children today are exposed to multimedia and lots of information; they are generally more questioning. How would that affect your children ministry?

    Your mission should remain the same; the gospel should not be changed but your mode of ministry must keep up with the times or you risk becoming irrelevant!

    1. What are the needs of your target audience?

    2. What are their goals and aspirations?

    The tendency for many is to guess or to give their opinions (which may not be based on facts) to questions (c) and (d). When you make plans based on guesses and opinions then your plans rest on a shaky foundation.

    One may risk an intelligent guess if your target audience is a group with group characteristics e.g., parents of school-going children ages 6-12. Notwithstanding group characteristics, remember that your target audience is not just any group of parents of school-going children but that particular group ... made up of real individuals.

    One of the best way is to determine the needs, goals and aspirations of your target audience is to talk to them. Talk to one, two, three or more till you feel you have a good representation of the group. Listen to what they have to say.

    In Judg 7:7, God promised to deliver Israel from the Midianites with Gideon's 300. That night, God told Gideon to go down to the camp of the Midianite army (read "target audience") and listen to what they were saying (read "listen to your target audience").

    After Gideon overheard two soldiers talking .. one relating his dream and the other interpreting it ... Gideon bowed down in worship and returned full of confidence that God had indeed delivered the Midianites into his hands (Judg 7:13-15).

    What did Gideon discover in his "target audience survey"? He discovered that God had preceded him and prepared the audience ... the Midianites were afraid of the Israelites! Gideon capitalised on this fear and designed an attack strategy ... surrounding the enemy at night with torches, breaking pitchers and blowing trumpets. When the trumpets were sounded, a panic occurred among the Midianites and they turned on each other with their swords! (Judg 7:22)

    Many of us do not stop and listen, and try to understand our target audience; we simply rush into ministry. Stop doing that; you need intelligence information before going to war. In addition to the above questions, ask these questions, seek answers then make plans for your ministry.

    • How has God preceded you in your ministry? Ask God for wisdom to discern what in your target audience that you can take advantage of?

    • Do you really know your target audience? What do you know about them?

    • Is this knowledge based on facts or opinions? How can you gather facts about your target audience?

  4. External Environment

    Your ministry and target audience exist in an environment ... society at large. An important element of society is government laws that affect your environment.

    1. What laws regulate the environment your ministry is in?

    2. Do they hinder or assist your ministry?

    3. What can you do about them?

Introduction | Then: Establish Objectives | Now: Assess Present Situation | How: Determine Program | Main Page

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Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © 2005 by Alan S.L. Wong