QT4CM Episode 36

decision making Jul 11, 2017

Tips on understanding what success in ministry looks like, when to hang fast, and when to quit.

When and why to change a ministry is a hard call.  Patricia Jehle will be addressing the issue of when to hang fast and when to change a ministry, part two of a three-part series on decision-making. Our Christian Ministry Maven for these episodes is Patricia Jehle, a university instructor in Switzerland and a business coach. In this episode Patricia gives us tips on what success in ministry might look like, when to hang fast, and when to quit and move on. She answers this question from a missionary in the field:

"Give us tips and practical tools on making decisions about change, moving forward, or terminating a ministry that isn't productive or standing fast with a hope for future breakthroughs."

Today's podcast will be on listening to God to make a decision regarding making a ministry change or not. This process seems, in some ways, rather daunting, but in other ways, quite simple. It is daunting when we feel we might get it wrong, but I believe God will guide you in your decision-making process. It is simple when thinking about God's big picture and what He wants in general for all of us.  

Click the green play button to listen to Patricia:  

Here are additional notes from Patricia:

Hang Fast or Change

Here are some suggestions to consider when you continue in the path you are going:

  • Your idea is great, your strategy is pretty perfect, if you say so yourself (or you can perfect it), you are doing the right things with the right motives
  • You - and your team - have the right competencies (or are willing to learn them, fast)
  • You are focusing on the most important things, the ONE BIG thing really (and remember that 80/20 principle, -spend time on the people and activities that “help” the most, unless you feel called to the hard edges of ministry)
  • Then, you should have a decision-making process already in place to decide if and when change needs to happen, you already are willing and do change, when necessary
  • And all Your systems (financial, logistical, discipleship, etc) are workable and they allow you to focus on your one BIG thing
  • Your mission is doing at least okay, financially
  • AND MOST importantly, you are still very passionate about your ministry and you are moving forward with it


  • You have been misunderstanding the signs (here’s a most awesome TEDtalk on this: http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong# )- maybe you have got God’s message wrong
  • Maybe your medium is wrong. For example, are you trying to reach young people with Facebook?  This is now “out” for many of the younger people, and other social media apps are much more appropriate.
  • You idea has become more important than anything else, including other people, especially those close to you, like family. Often we forget the why (glorify God, love others…)
  • Your cons now outweigh (even if they don’t outnumber) your pros
  • This one is BIG: you can’t answer important questions, like, “Why are you doing this?  Why is x, y, or z happening?  How did you miss that?”
  • Your short cuts are cutting you and the ministry short and you are not doing “the job” right
  • You have tried everything you can think of and it’s still not working
  • The people you serve have changed since starting the ministry and you don’t think or feel you can change to fit their “need”, or culture —maybe you are becoming more introverted, for example, and the ministry requires a lot of initiatives with groups of people.  Or maybe you have a newly required diet change that makes it difficult to fellowship with those whom you minister to.
  • The only things keeping you from quitting is your pride and your fear (This is important, be careful of this one!)- those are not good reasons
  • You have continued financial and/or other major losses, such as personnel, and you do not see not much change for the future
  • All that extra work and new ideas/activities you have done and tried has not made any difference
  • And finally, Your own priorities have changed and you have a different view of your idea and your work, or the ministry’s priorities and values have changed, but yours have not

The Carl Rogers reflection model: 1) You have an experience and then you ask:

What happened?  Think about it from your perspective, from the perspective of someone on the receiving end of the ministry, the fly on the wall, and if you can, from God’s perspective.

  2) You reflect on the experience and think about your feelings, and all the recipients’ feelings, and then reflect on what happened after that (behavioral and the consequences)   3) then you try and form hypotheses as to why this happened and why the results (both physical and emotional) were what they were.  Here is where you may want to revise your opinion, your method, or change everything completely.   4) finally, you put the newly reached ideas into practice – and then you begin the reflection process all over again.  After all, we are in a life-long learning and growing process!  And that is positive for us and for our ministries.   Website: http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/17978-god-s-definition-of-success Book:  “The Power of a Whisper:  Hearing God. Having the Guts to Respond.” Bill Hybels, Zondervan Press   An awesome TEDtalk on perception http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong#  

Here are the two books Patricia recommended:

Decision Making and the Will of God:  A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View.” Garry Friesen with Robin Maxson, Multnomah Press “The Power of a Whisper:  Hearing God. Having the Guts to Respond.” Bill Hybels, Zondervan Press    



Patricia Jehle (pronounced "yay lay") is a part-time lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts  Northwest Switzerland and is also a certified business coach and a spiritual director.  Besides working for InterVarsity USA in the past, she has served as a short term missionary in the Philippines and in Thailand.  Along with several other ministries, she is involved in the leadership of a church plant in her local neighborhood in Switzerland. Sharing the life-giving truth of the Gospel is one of her passions. Patricia Jehle has a Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota.   Patricia Jehle can be reached through her: Websites:  www.jehle-coaching.com/     and     www.jehle-coachingexpat.com LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/patricia-jehle-christensen Facebook: www.facebook.com/Jehle.Coaching/ Twitter: @PJehle    



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