One of the things I have recommended in the past is churches executing a ministry audit that includes a budget audit. Finding out the reality of what a church is doing and not doing is a necessary task before deciding next steps in its mission. I have found that for many churches we often dedicate a great deal of money, time and energy into programs and activities that do not achieve the mission or vision of the church. We already know we typically have many programs that do not make disciples and have not helped our churches grow. Here is a simple place to begin.
Ministry Audit
This audit is designed to evaluate the ongoing ministries, programs, missions and activities of a Church. Identifying each program, activity, ministry and mission - starting with a basic reality of the church – is critical.           
What is the basic mission, vision, goal of the Church as a whole?
  • This should include the mission of making disciples and whatever basic mission or missions statement the church has adopted. Some churches will need to revise their mission statement to more effectively identify their biblically defined mission as a church. If our mission is not built around the guest, reaching new people, making disciples of them, and connecting them with the ongoing growth of the church most of our efforts will be futile. It is the multiplication idea we are looking for. It takes a concerted and church community effort to create a culture of growth.
  • How much does it cost: funds that are raised, what is in the budget and percentage of budget?
  • How much time is required of the pastor(s) and is a staff person or persons hired to lead it.
  • How many volunteers are directly involved?
  • Is it growing and expanding or declining?
  • Is it making disciples?
  • Is it an evangelism tool? 
  • Is it what Jesus said do? 
  • Is it growing your church as a whole and feeding into worship?
  • What are the ways it interacts with the community and especially the people the church is trying to reach? Does it have a place for the unchurched to connect, interact, and become involved?
  • How much space does it take on the calendar, in the building, and the time required of volunteers?
  • Is it for members only, or does it actively invite and involve non-members and new members?
  • Is it helping your church grow, (including an element of evangelism and disciple making)?
  • How does it interact with the vision, mission, and the entirety of people in your church (this includes how it interacts and connects with other programs, activities, missions, and mission of the church)?
  • Does it need to be realigned, refocused, adapted, or stopped.
When the audit is completed, we should have a more comprehensive reflection of the reality of our Church, who is involved, what we do and do not do, and how it aligns with the vision and mission of the church.  Most of us will discover what we already know: most of our work and money is dedicated to caring for our members and maintaining what and who we are. We might have activities designed to serve our community at some level, like food banks and programs, but we will have few lead programs, activities, and money aimed at growing the church and making disciples.