The How To's of Prayer Ministry

7.5 A Signed Mutual Agreement

1. Always maintain a written ministry policy regarding any ‘on or off’ campus ministry. Generic protocols can be uniformly structured to represent the overall ministry, yet uniquely worded to serve the individual ministry need.

2. Anyone considered a candidate as leader should be required to read all policies, initial each item as they are read, then sign a ministry agreement to abide by all standing procedures and protocols. If they will not, do not use them.

*Those unwilling to sign an agreement eventually stir problems and what is worse feel justified for their actions.

3. A standing ministry agreement concerning all policies should be signed by all candidates desiring to participate in leadership of any ministry. This is key should a legal matter or insurance requirement arise. This document should include an agreement to work together in a professional manner when relationship, character or personality differences arise in the work place and that these issues should not be received as matters for mediation between individual. Nor will issues concerning culture, tradition, gender, race or negotiable scriptural or religious issues unless there is a specific standing policy to protect and maintain a safe ministry working environment. *Excluding individuals from ministry based on one dislikes of another will give rise to disruption and unwanted lawsuits.

4. Any policies not open to change should be identified as such in the initial written agreement.

5. When a mediation team has reached a decision concerning a policy, should contention continue to emerge, those in opposition should be willing to dismiss themselves peacefully from ministry.
> These policies should be introduced as part of the initial ministry agreement.
Legitimate Ministry Issues for Mediation

1. A clear definition concerning what conditions warrant policy mediation should be clearly defined. As a rule, legitimate issues for mediation are those that pertain to ministry procedures,
Ø when they fail to fulfill their function,
Ø when they fail to secure a safe environment for those in the work place or receiving ministry,
Ø when issues between individuals place the ministry or individuals at risk,
Ø when there is a refusal to abide by existing policy.
2. When legitimate mediation warrants a policy change, all ministry participants should be willing to abide by the outcome of that decision.
3. Person (s) authorized to decide the legitimacy of pending issues should be clearly identified.
4. When policy mediation becomes necessary, the issue must first be brought forth in writing. This document should include the specifics to be addressed. These issues may not be generalizations of any matter. Issues that are not submitted prior to mediation must be withheld from the mediation itinerary. Those directly involved should have ample time to prepare to address the specific issues in fairness before a mediator.
5. A specified time duration should be set to answer why the issue or policy in question will or will not be addressed. Thirty days is reasonable.
The Ministry Responsibility to all Parties Concerned

1. All complaints concerning individuals must be received with their full knowledge of and to the matter. This is the responsibility of the leadership to assure proper notification to those concerned. The mediation is not an open forum. Those present must be limited to involved parties.
2. When mediation pertains to a complaint towards another individual and the facts are ambiguous, incomplete, based on presumption; when those setting forth an accusation are unwilling to put to writing the specific events surrounding a complaint, the matter should be dropped until all the facts are discovered. Don't be duped into roads that led to offense, slander and further discord. Scriptural mediation is one individual to another.
3. Demeaning one’s character is precedence for probation or dismissal from ministry duties, both before and after the matter has been resolved.
4. When a complaint threatens the reputation of an individual, open exoneration is a must, Should any following item apply;
*When no wrong doing is proven beyond doubt;
*When testimony is based on presumption or the outcome of misunderstanding,
*When accusations pertain to non moral issues.
Understanding Ministry Policy

1. All written policy should indicate who has the authority to approve mediation and, how and where to inquire to address a questions or complaint.
2. Understand, when policies are not clearly communicated, assumptions arise between individuals that spell ‘unforeseen problems’. ‘Individual will take matters into their own hands’.
3. There should be a specific location for discovery concerning all standing policies.
4. All documents should include the origination of all established ministry policies. Who drafted it. Who authorized it. The date of authorization.
A stated reference of origination is also wise--
‘our bylaws state’,
‘under the church constitution’,
‘the board has amended’,
‘It is the decision of the pastoral staff’, ‘
‘This is an executive decision by the senior pastor or ministry leader’ etc.
5. When a ministry encompasses a large regional area, it is wise to compose a ministry policy manual with specific instructions how to perform ministry.
6. Understand a failure to communicate standing policy will give rise to dissension and confusion, especially among leadership when something goes wrong.
7. Understand that an ongoing, on the spot decision making policy opens the door to vulnerability and resentment among the leadership because no one will know who has authority to do what.
8. A standing procedure should be in place to create or change policy when needed. Open round table discussions will allow a platform for creative non-confrontive solutions when a legal board is not in place. This format will defuse unwanted tensions among individuals laboring together in ministry.
9. A mailing notification should be addressed to all ministry participants concerning a change in policy. It is wise to identify a location where changes are regularly posted with additional sheets for staff members and ministry participants.
Setting Boundaries for a Safe Working Environment

Unexpected relationship issues often emerge 'for who knows what' leading to misunderstandings sapping the vision of God right out of you. Vulnerability (exposing ones shortcoming to open discretion) is a primary hazard when working among people in ministry. Those we lead and serve often expect much more than we are able to provide. For this reason the ministry work place should be a safe environment for all. All of us make mistakes. Unfortunately many demand unreasonable expectations far beyond the biblical standards of moral character.

Ignoring adverse temperament, will gather others to deal with you in an unfavorably.
Subordinates laboring with us in ministry are more sensitive to temperament and mood changes than we. Though admitting this is humbling, it is best to trust those around us to alert us when our actions have an adverse affect on others. The question should be addressed to you, ‘what are the conditions that are presently leading to adverse temperament?’ ‘What needs to change?’ Then support and respect your decision to remove the obstacles.

1. Do not discuss personal moral weaknesses with those who are not willing to protect you.
2. Within the ministry of prayer, never address serious personal problems among those to whom you do not feel safe, trust or have a good standing relationship. Accountability is a must. All of us need wise godly counsel. a safe haven for inner healing. A covering of accountability is a legitimate biblical principle. Do not look for it among those who do not share a realistic understanding of the role of leadership or the responsibility it bears!
3. Do not place those in leadership who are always critical and never offer creative practical solutions.
4. Do not place individuals in leadership with deep emotional issues or swings.
5. Do not put those in authority who have a record of disloyalty to you or to your ministry.
6. Do not place individuals in authority who constantly place you in a defensive posture, feeling unsafe, display open contempt, no matter how wonderful their gift and abilities may be, do not use them.
As ministry advances into plateaus of growth, offenses arise because of ministry styles. Usually a ministry leader who has served as chief cook and bottle washer is forced into an unfamiliar need to diversify their responsibility to others. This is an unavoidable stress because it can be similar to giving away the baby that you have born and cared for through infant hood. It is wise to perfect procedural protocols as the ministry grows through roundtable open discussion. When those who labor with you in ministry understand that an honest attempt has been made to improve working ministry conditions, most are willing to work through the difficulties. I assure you, you will live through it.

Growth and the Need for Ministry Professionalism

As ministries move through growth plateaus, written procedural policies protect the ministry and provide for mutual respect to all involved. Discretionary matters once decided over the Supper Bowl and pizza are reserved to orderly business practices. After all ministry is a business, “God’s business.” While some argue that ministry professionalism creates an elite ministry class, its true purpose is to establish perimeters of authority and maintain order through growth. Boundaries are set in regard to position that further ensure proper ministry etiquette and close the door to irresponsible discretion and vulnerability.
Practical Policies of Professionalism
Understand the Circumstances that Surround Ministry Failure

Quit often ministries experience repeated cycles of failure. These are problems that arise again and again. In the long run, understanding principles that enable failure and practices that protect the ministry may save you repeated cycles of grief.

1. Assumption, the First Rule of Ministry Failure. (Responsible for 46% of ministry failure)

Defined: taking to or upon oneself, the act of unauthorized laying claim to or taking possession of power or authority. (an arrogant pretension).
When authorized authority fails to communicate delegated perimeters of the power to act or enact, the authorized perimeters will be presupposed. Individuals will move beyond required perimeters to take matters into their own hands.

2. Unpredictability, the Second Rule of Failure. (Responsible for 31% of ministry failure)

Defined: the inability to reason or come to a practical conclusion by observation or evaluation, what is common, expected or normal
Ministries that consistently change policy, projects or programs, often frustrate those who serve them to the point of discouragement, because of the constant disregard for the heart felt labor of the saints. Remember those who serve us in ministry, do so because they love the Lord. Often we don't pay them. One’s reward is the opportunity to be used in service to the Lord and experience the fruitfulness of that labor, in the same manner we do in ministry. When a leader takes for granted the hard heart felt labor of those who serve them, it sends a message that we don't respect them nor think much of what they have invested in service to the Lord.

3. Instability, the Third Rule of Failure. (Responsible for 11% of ministry failure)

Defined: The state of being unstable. unestablished, unfixed, unsettled, state of confusion and continual change or fluctuating, varying, unresolved purpose or resolution, unable to resist vulnerability. Characterized by: Division, dissension, lack of discipline, lack of honesty, integrity, or direction.

5. Disrespect, the Fourth Rule of Failure. (Responsible for 9% of ministry failure)

The word respect is defined: the act of giving particular attention and consideration, to hold in high or special regard, to esteem, to consider worthy of high honor. Etiquette, Protocol.
Disrespect is defined: to hold one as valueless, unworthy of respect, an attitude of disregard or contempt toward the feelings or needs of another. Characterized by: a disregard to personal needs to feel safe.
Scripture defines respect as the right to decide certain matters within the perimeters of God ordained privilege.

To often, ministry leaders will not intervene when conflicts rise at a ministry function that place others at risk. As a result people get hurt. When conflicts arise, many reserve themselves to little more than “let’s get along or let’s forgive” or do nothing more to safeguard others. It is important that confronting parties be separated immediately and the risks evaluated to preserve a safe environment. Leaders are biblically obligated to protect God’s people. Acts 28:20.

1. Respect individual boundaries,
2. Respect family boundaries
3. Respect ‘Position,’ pastoral boundaries. Never rebuke pastoral staff or leadership openly.
4. Respect organizational boundaries
Respect authority boundaries, Don’t put your two cents where it does not belong. Respect those in authority.
5. Respect sexual boundaries. Do not knowingly set yourself into compromising situations.
Respect one another’s character
6. The God who is wiser than all, has created each individual into a unique personality. Some characters complement the other, some cause others to feel uneasy. 1 Corinthians 12:22-25
7. Respect the gift of others
Each individual in the Body of Christ has a different gift 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 A diversity of calling, gifts, and ministry, but the scripture says God is in them all.
7. Respect ministry styles The work and business of God is performed through many forms of Government and administration
8. Some churches operate as corporations with bylaws other are freer in approach as para church ministries that make decisions for the moment.
9. Respect standing policies
Policies are to ensure order and respect and a safe environment for all who labor or become recipients of ministry. They close the door to potential accidents, lawsuits and of course the enemy.
10. Respect each other’s boundaries
Each individual measures safety in reference to different life experiences. A ministry may find a necessity to create policies to further assure a safe environment. Unfortunately not every ministry is able to operate within everyone’s need, so it is important that those who are candidates for ministry be willing to serve within the ministry’s ability to provide personal respect. An individual should not impose their ideals on everyone. Yet still feel safe within the working environment.
11. Respect issues of privacy Don't be a busybody.
When an individual has an issue with another, its their issue, not your issue. Nor a matter open to discussion how others think about it. Don't add your 2 cents to a disagreement because you are in ears distance.

5. Lack of Communication, the Fifth Rule of Failure. (Responsible for 4% of ministry failure)

Defined: An inability to communicate mind to mind or thinking to thinking An unwillingness to talk. The inability to relate vocally or articulate ideas. A lack of sharing. A shortfall of integral practices. The lack of communicating understanding. The inability to receive full comprehension. Misunderstanding or confusion in reverence to what one believes they hear.
Communication failure reveal itself in many ways. Good communication skills are not inherent but learned. Much communication shortfall is not intentional, but rather an inability to remember affirmation due to the limitations of short-term memory. It is best to journal or keep a day calendar. 4 absolutes that must be written down for latter reference. [Promises, agreements, commitments, appointment dates and times].

6. The Aftermath of Misunderstanding, the Six Rule of Failure. (Responsible for 4% of ministry failure)

Ministries often do not clean up or practice damage control after a misunderstandings. They fail to exonerate those not at fault when a problem is resolved. When misunderstandings are swept underneath the carpet in the hope that they will be forgotten or disappear, they will bred more misunderstandings and eventually when least expected come back to bite you. You may forget, people don’t.
Ministry Professionalism

1 Honor one another, remember love covers a multitude of sin.
2. Cover one another, Look out for one another,
Cover one another against accusation or ill will. We are God’s family. If we don't look out and love each other, no one else will either. Family members protects one another and warn them when problems are stirring. Guard their back from back lash. A family does not communicate damaging information to those who will destroy the family unit. When a problem arises, its family business. It does not go beyond the door or leave the family room.
3. Watch out for one another.
The scripture declares that we are in a war and that this war is in our midst. Some believe that if you are in the perfect will of God, that the enemy will not attack you. Well let’s consider this thought for a moment. Was God out of His will when lucifer rebelled against Him? I would say not, and so the enemy is always at work to destroy the work and family of God. So be alert. Pray for each other and keep your eyes open. As the scripture says, "be sober and be vigilant for your adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking to devour."
4. Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.
The word, "endeavor" implies that to maintain unity will require some extra effort. The enemies primary plan is to divide the ranks. Once his goal is achieved, penetration, demoralization of the ranks and killing off the leadership will follow. This is not a game. We are in a war. Understand the literal translations of the word DIVISION is to divide the vision. So take a moment and consider what you are doing. Are your actions unifying the Body of Christ or is it set to destroy and divide the work of God? See James 3:14-17 Even good intentions can be the devil’s workshop.
A Summary of Individual Professionalism

1. Do not place yourself knowingly into compromising situations,
2. Don't do things you know to be foolish.
3. Submit to one another, respect those in authority. Obey those who are in authority over you.
4. When trusted to handle money, do so in a manner above reproach. Don't use God’s money for your personal purposes.
5. Accountability
Practice integrity. Earn the trust and respect of those around you. Keep your word and carry out God's business in an orderly and timely manner. Identify those that can be trusted to seek counsel and pray for you.
6. Do not demean the character of others.
When one makes a mistake, there is no need to announce it. Don't jest about the shortcomings of others, nor openly announce your displeasure concerning their performance. Demeaning anyone openly for any purpose will not be tolerated.

7. Do not lie, People don't like it nor do they appreciate it.
8. And most of all, "Never give up".