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There’s a big difference between organizing ministry and mobilizing ministry. The more we grow, the more gears there are to grease, the more issues we face, the more it’s necessary to recognize the difference. As a ministry grows, it is absolutely necessary to develop more policies, systems, and protocols to try manage the unwieldiness and messiness of ministry. However, getting things organized like calendars, files, papers, forms, communications pathways, response protocols,  policies, etc. doesn’t do a bit of good if it doesn’t actually mobilize people for real ministry. Being organized might help those who are structured and task oriented feel good about what they’re doing but it doesn’t mean you’re doing good ministry.

Notice the difference in definition between these two words.




  1. arrange into a structured whole; order.
  2. coordinate the activities of (a person or group of people) efficiently.




  1. prepare and organize (troops) for active service.
  2. organize and encourage (people) to act in a concerted way in order to bring about a particular political objective.
  3. bring (resources) into use in order to achieve a particular goal.

To organize is an action that serves itself.

To mobilize is an action that serves a greater purpose.

We are not called to organize ministry. If you’re into organizing, then once you’ve got all your papers and files put away, calendar neatly laid out, routines in order, and teams meeting on their regular schedule …  you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. But that’s not what we’re called to do as pastors and ministry leaders.

We are called to mobilize the church, it’s people, and its resources to bring the gospel to lost and hurting people, bring healing to the sick and wounded, build and disciple people into fully devoted followers of Christ, and equip them to minister to others. We use organizational tools to set our people up for success in ministry. We give them what they need to do what they do. Anything more than what they need to do what they need to do becomes organizing not mobilizing.

A pastor or ministry leader who organizes their ministry will make people in their ministry happy but they will not help their ministry grow. A pastor or ministry leader who mobilizes their ministry will help people in their ministry become organized to accomplish the mission of God in their community and help their ministry grow.

So, don’t just organize your ministry, mobilize your ministry.

Author: Jim Murphy

Associate Pastor | NextGen Ministries Covenant Church, Bemidji, MN

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