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Wooden Cabins

Gospel Impact and Stewardship Tool (GIST)

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Luke 14:28 - "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"

The Gospel Impact and Stewardship Tool ("GIST") was created to support a shared stewardship approach in ministry, encouraging ministry leaders and teams to see one another and work together. The stewardship mapping tool improves the process of strategic decision-making so that leaders may be more effective in missional impact. Through a "dual bottom line" (missional impact and financial sustainability) the tool can help align finite resources for sustainable missional impact.

Proverbs 15:22 - "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."

Bottom Line #1 - Gospel Impact Criteria

Alignment with Core Mission. Over time, missional programs may drift in core mission alignment. Hence, at any given time, some programs are more aligned than others in missional impact. Most (or probably all) current programs have some level of missional impact on individual participants, but there is room for discussion about whether these activities are increasing in alignment with the congregation's core mission to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Excellence in Execution. Often leaders will give more explicit attention to planning than to execution. The criterion of excellence is a way of getting at execution. Is this activity something that is offered in an outstanding, superior way? Do we execute this program competently, or do we execute it amazingly well? The following sources of information are related to the criterion of excellence: program evaluation data; feedback from customers, patrons, and clients; direct observation; staff performance evaluations; and staff turnover and exit interviews. 

Community Building. One measure of impact is related to building the capacity and strength of the community – on a relational and trust level – rather than to building the organization itself. Does the program help build the community around the organization? The following sources may provide information related to the criterion of community building: interviews with community and leaders; reviews of member support; and recent surveys.

Leverage. Missional programs do not exist in isolation. One element of impact is leverage, the degree to which a ministry program increases the impact of other ministry programs. A ministry may score high on the criterion of leverage because it creates opportunity for evangelism, member and visitor assimilation, youth engagement, volunteer participation, worship attendance or increased offerings. 

The challenge of stewarding missional impact and viability touch every non-profit. These challenges do not repair themselves without significant effort. Amy Edmondson notes, "The chances of individual components, developed separately, coming together into meaningful, functional wholes without intense communication across the boundaries are exceedingly low." Amy C. Edmondson, Teaming: How Organizations Learn ,Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012), 197.

The FIRST step in making the missional model explicit is identifying CORE ACTIVITIES and mapping their missional impact.  A robust way of considering relative impact is to look more closely at the components of impact. 

The following four criteria have been selected:

  • Alignment with Core Mission

  • Excellence in Execution

  • Community Building

  • Leverage


  •        : HIGH Gospel Impact, LOW Financial Viability

  •        : HIGH Gospel Impact HIGH Financial Viability

  •        : LOW Gospel Impact, HIGH Financial Viability

  •          : LOW Gospel Impact, LOW Financial Viability


Proverbs 16:9 - "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."

Shared Vision

On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest, please rate each of the 8 ministries on the four criteria listed below.  As you complete your assessments, remember that there are no "right" answers, and consider all the information you have from your

experience with the ministry. 


  • "1" not much impact

  • "2" some impact

  • "3" very strong impact

  • "4" exceptional impact

Please know this process is not about deciding which ministry ministries are good and which are bad.  Rather, it is about acknowledging and collectively thinking through which ministry ministries have relatively more Gospel impact than others.  Therefore, core activities cannot all be at the low end or high end of the missional impact spectrum.

Bottom Line #2 - Financial Sustainability

     The SECOND step in making the missional model explicit is identifying FUNDING STRATEGIES and mapping their missional impact.

Every organization has a missional model that can be visually mapped.  That is, every organization has a set of core activities it executes, and strategies for obtaining the necessary funds.  Often such activities and their corresponding funding strategies are not well articulated. Your congregation's Finance Committee, along with Martin’s help, will determine the “true cost” of each ministry. This will include allocating income and expenses to each ministry, including staff salaries. A formula will be agreed on for calculating shared expenses and income. The “Staffing Stewardship Calculator” will be used to determine the true cost of each ministry, based on the total staff time dedicated to each ministry, divided by the total cost of the staff. The following is the formula used to calculate a ministry’s true cost: Total Hours allocated to a ministry divided by Total Employee Time multiplied by Total Cost of employee equals “True Cost.” Some Finance Committees will agree to use the same time-allocation percentages resulting from calculating true cost for employees for the remaining expenses less direct costs.

Note: The financial data is not actual financials but the totality of the approved spending plan (proposed budget) and the combination of projected direct costs, shared costs, and administration costs. The financial data, then, is a cost-benefit analysis of each ministry in relation to the other ministries at your church.

Steve Zimmerman and Jeanne Bell, The Sustainability Mindset: Using the Matrix Map to Make Strategic Decisions (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2015).


Get a Complimentary Ministry Map & Assessment.

Step 1 - Upload the list of your Congregation's Ministry Teams & Income Statement (Budget) for analysis in the link below. (Information is private and confidential.)

Step 2Wait for Marty to reply within one week of your submittal.


For more information contact Dr. Martin Lee, Executive Director at .

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