Who are we?
What are we trying to do?
These are unusual questions.
How did we go about trying to do what we're trying to do?
Ministries usually ask: "What happened?" and "What did we accomplish?" and "How many ... ?" And these are fine questions. But if they're the only questions you answer, you'll miss an opportunity.
One of our campus groups saw a regular meeting on campus, two conversions and an increase from 5 to 15 students. We celebrate. It was a great year! But there are over 10,000 students on that campus. And InterVarsity is the only campus ministry. We're grateful to work with 15, but not satisfied. We need to get the doors opened a little wider.
When I started asking the How question I wrote down that our weekly meeting was an intense prayer and worship meeting. Almost two hours. Awesome, but that's it.
If you looked at our How and tried to work back to our What, what would you say we were trying to do on campus? Gather the Committed. Protect the Safe. Change the spiritual climate. Some of that maps onto our vision. Some of that doesn't.
Jumping from the How to the What exposes drift.
Jumping from the What to the Who re-engages hearts.
Our students want to be a city on a hill, resident aliens, campus renewers. Our leaders don't want Youth Group 2.0 or the Weakly Christian Club. If we cast a compelling Who We Are vision, the What and How's will step into line.
I don't expect we'll cancel our weekly prayer and worship meeting, but we might change it. We might introduce ourselves to each other before we start praying and spend a minute or two talking to each other (yeah ... the meetings were THAT intense this year). We might add a Bible Study on another day or at another time. Who knows? But something will change.
How would you answer the Who, What and How's for your ministry?