3 Kingdom Principles to Help Your Ministry Become Productive and Efficient

As believers, we must be a good steward of our resources.
As believers, we must be a good steward of our resources. (Lightstock )

Second-quarter productivity (output per hour) was much lower than anticipated. The annual rate of -0.5 percent was slightly higher than the prior estimate of -0.6 percent, but much lower than the +0.5 percent pre-report consensus estimate (Bloomberg Econday).

The report documented the third consecutive quarter of negative productivity, an event which has not occurred in more than 25 years. Lower capital investment is responsible for much of the decline.

Second-quarter unit labor costs, (costs per unit of output) at 2.0 percent, were slightly higher than the pre-report consensus (Bloomberg Econoday) estimate of 1.8 percent; lower productivity was responsible for one quarter of the increase, and higher wage rates were responsible for the other three quarters. Unit labor costs are a measure of efficiency.

Both productivity and unit labor costs are important predictors of future economic conditions. In the long run, productivity determines wage rates and the standard of living which workers can enjoy. Higher productivity results in higher wages, while lower productivity depresses wages. Productivity increases require a skilled workforce and capital investment. Since labor typically comprises a large proportion of total costs, unit labor costs are critical to global competitiveness. Increased productivity allows for higher wages with lower labor cost per unit of output and vice versa.

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In the kingdom, we need to be concerned about productivity and efficiency. Our churches and ministries have a purpose to accomplish. Any dilution of our focus, time and monies can keep us from fully fulfilling this purpose. Our volunteers also have a purpose. A lack of productivity and efficiency in our ministries can cause them to gather less fruit their divine purpose.

The following principles provide guidelines to help us be productive and efficient.

1. Stay on purpose. Jesus knew His purpose and focused on it throughout His time on Earth. Whether at the beginning of His ministry or near the end, He knew what He should be doing and He did it. He refused to be distracted. If we fail to stay on purpose, time and other resources will be wasted.

But He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, for this is why I was sent" (Luke 4:43).

"When the time came for Him to be received up, He was steadfastly set to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51).

2. Concentrate your efforts and resources where the Lord appears to be moving. Be willing to adapt as the Spirit provides new opportunities. Phillip was obedient and introduced the gospel to Ethiopia even though he was currently in a revival. Peter introduced the gospel to the Gentiles, a people the Jews considered unclean.

The Spirit said to Philip, "Go to this chariot and stay with it" (Acts 8:29).

"The Spirit told me to go with them without hesitation. Moreover, these six brothers came with me, and we entered the man's house" (Acts 11:12).

3. Steward your resources carefully. Eliminate waste. Jesus fed 5,000 with five barley loaves and two small fish. Multiplication must have seemed so simple to the disciples. But Jesus told them to pick up the fragments so there would be no waste. If Jesus was that concerned, perhaps we should be too.

When they were filled, He told His disciples, "'Collect the fragments that remain, that nothing may be lost.' So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten" (John 6:12-13).

4. Seek to be empowered by the Spirit. After Peter received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a megachurch of 3,000 souls was born from his first sermon. The Holy Spirit changed Peter from a coward to a lion, and from an impulsive follower to a rock of the faith.

"Then those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41).

We have a sacred charge to be productive and efficient. Let us move forward with the power of the Word and the Spirit.

Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.

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