MOSE Program

Ministry Organization and Staffing Evaluation (MOSE)

CLICK HERE for a printable PDF summary of the MOSE program.

What is it?MOSE log with name

The MOSE program is an ancillary program of the Commission on Congregational Counseling (CCC). It fulfills the purpose statement of the CCC:

The Commission on Congregational Counseling assists WELS congregations to assess and evaluate ministry, review biblical teachings and principles that impact ministry, develop plans to adjust and expand ministry in appropriate ways, and carry out their plans over a period of time.

The MOSE program examines how a congregation intends to implement their ministry plan.   It does this by evaluating the amount and type of human resources the plan requires and comparing that to the resources available in the congregation. The MOSE program also evaluates the efficiency of the congregation’s organization in making and implementing decisions, also vital in carrying out a ministry plan.

Who is it for?

The MOSE program is designed for congregations that desire assistance in evaluating how to align resources, both human and financial, to carry out their ministry plan. (NOTE: For a congregation to enroll in the MOSE program, it needs to have a comprehensive ministry plan and correlating budget.   If a congregation does not have a comprehensive ministry plan, then the MOSE program would be preceded by enrollment in the CCC’s Self-Analysis & Adjustment Program (SAA).   As part of the adjustment phase of the SAA program, congregations learn to produce a thorough ministry plan with appropriate goals, as well as a budget that is based on that plan.) Here are some congregations that could benefit from the MOSE program.

  • Congregations that believe ministry could possibly be done more efficiently if responsibilities were better aligned with the gifts and interests of the called workers, hired staff, and volunteer helpers.
  • Congregations that have plateaued and believe they need to add staff to address that issue.   However, they are not certain what type of staff to add.
  • Congregations that believe part of their struggle to fully implement their ministry plan is that they have not organized in a way that allows them to fully utilize the laity.
  • Congregations that want to evaluate whether the way decisions are reached and implemented might be made more efficient.
  • Congregations that believe that their current church polity is not a good match for the size or makeup of their congregation.
  • Congregations that want assistance in producing job descriptions for all areas of ministry and service.   (These might be used in the calling process, the election process, the hiring process, or the process of recruiting volunteers.)
  • Congregations that want to implement an annual program of peer review to help all called workers, hired staff, and church leadership build on their strengths.

What does participation in the MOSE program involve?

There are four phases to the MOSE program.

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Phase 1: Producing a ministry matrix

In this phase, the congregational counselor helps the congregation work through their ministry plan and convert it to a comprehensive action plan. The action plan defines the steps needed to attain each goal.   It details what resources are needed, both financial and human, to meet each goal in the various areas of ministry (worship, evangelism, discipleship, etc.).

The human resource component of the action plan is analyzed with the goal of answering the following questions.

  • What is the total number of hours needed in a year to implement the action plan?   What is the average number of hours needed in a typical week?
  • What skill sets are all needed to carry out the action plan well? E.g. teaching skills, administrative skills, evangelism skills, interpersonal skills, musical skills, etc.
  • How many hours per week are needed from each of those skills sets? E.g. How many hours of administrative work does the plan call for?   How many hours of Bible class preparation?   How many hours of outreach activity?   How many hours of elder/in-reach calls?
  • How do all the jobs, tasks and responsibilities of the action plan break down according to required spiritual maturity?   I.e. According to the action plan, how many hours per week require someone with pastoral training?   How many hours per week require spiritually mature males?   How many hours per week require anyone who is spiritually mature?   How many hours per week are there of tasks that could be filled by someone who is relatively new to the faith?

At the end of this phase, the congregation has a “ministry matrix” – a document that breaks down exactly how much and what types of human resources are needed to efficiently carry out the action plan.

Phase 2: Produce a human resource summary

In Phase 1 the congregation evaluated exactly what was needed in the way of human resources. In this phase, the goal is to evaluate what is potentially available in the way of human resources.   This is done using a variety of tools, including (but not limited to):

  • Strengths Finder 2.0 – For almost a decade this online resource has helped individuals identify their strongest skill sets.   This in turn allows individuals to build on their strengths and avoid their weaknesses.
  • Skills & Interests Profile (SIP) – This is an intensive “time and talent” survey for the entire congregation.   Often congregations survey members in a very general way about their skills. The SIP does that. However, it also has individuals look at specific job descriptions that flow from the action plan and to determine how much time, if any, they could commit to those tasks.
  • Brotherly summary – This is a non-anonymous guided survey that allows called workers, staff, and church leadership to assess and summarize one another’s strengths in a loving and encouraging way. It is also where the MOSE program examines how smoothly and efficiently the congregation operates under its current polity.

When this phase is completed, the congregation will have a summary of its total human resource potential.   It will know what skill sets are present in the called workers, hired staff and laity. It will have an accurate picture of how many volunteer hours the laity can realistically provide.

With Phase 1 and Phase 2 complete the congregation can move forward, reconciling the ministry matrix to the human resource summary.

 Phase 3: Matrix resolution

In this phase, the congregational counselor works with the congregational leadership, comparing the ministry matrix to the human resource summary and then finding ways to fill human resource gaps in the action plan.   This can happen in a variety of ways:

Realignment of responsibilities

  • It might be discovered during the course of the MOSE program that individuals have been asked to take on responsibilities that they have neither the interest nor aptitude to carry out.   That responsibility may need to slide to a different human resource.
  • It might be discovered during the course of the MOSE program that individuals are being asked to carry out tasks that do not align with their level of spiritual training/maturity.   For example, a congregation might think they need a second pastor. But in the MOSE program they learn that they currently have the pastor spending 35% of this time on tasks that do not necessarily require pastoral training.   That 35% of the pastor’s work might be shifted to lay volunteers or to an administrative assistant, both of which are more cost effective than calling a second pastor.

Increasing volunteerism  

  • It might be discovered during the course of the MOSE program that with better communication (such as job descriptions that spell out exactly what one is being asked to do and exactly how much time it will involve) congregational volunteerism could be vastly increased.
  • It might be decided during the course of the MOSE program that the way to pursue full implementation of an action plan is to have a stewardship emphasis that focuses on time instead of finances.   (Or it could be a combined emphasis.)

Professional/personal growth

  • It might be discovered during the course of the MOSE program that while an individual has the interest in serving in a particular area, he or she does not currently have adequate skills to do so.   Therefore a plan is developed to enable that individual to grow professionally. (This is often much more cost effective than trying to shift those responsibilities to someone else. It is also less “painful,” if the individual enjoys serving in that capacity.   Nothing is “taken away” from them.)

Adding staff

  • It might be decided during the course of the MOSE program that the only way to fully implement the action plan is to add more staff.   The ministry matrix can help a congregation determine what type of staff is needed (e.g. pastor, staff minister, administrative assistant, etc.).   It can also help the congregation write a job description, detailing exactly how the individual being called (or hired) would be faithful to the Gospel in this particular context.

Adjusting the action plan downward

  • If a congregation lacks the human resources to carry out their action plan, it means they need to add staff. If they lack the financial resources to do that, then their only remaining option is to adjust the goals of the action plan downward.   Thus, during the course of the MOSE program, a congregation may learn it is currently trying to do too much.   The congregational counselor will work with the congregation to determine how ministry could be adjusted downward.   The congregational counselor will also work with the congregation to produce a plan that would allow the congregation to expand ministry in the near future, God-willing.

Phase 4: Moving forward

The final phase of the MOSE program has the congregational counselor provide training to the congregational leadership so they can carry out the components of the MOSE program themselves moving forward.

The training will focus especially on self-assessment and brotherly encouragement.   It will show congregational leadership how to set appropriate, quantifiable goals for their service.   It will also illustrate how to turn most leadership meetings into a simple assessment of action plan compliance, so that the ministry plan is constantly being driven forward to God’s glory.

 What are the benefits of the MOSE program?

The four benefits of the MOSE program correlate to the four phases.

  1. Phase 1 allows a congregation come to grips with how much work their ministry plan actually requires. Typically, congregations focus only on financial resources. They know approximately how much their ministry plan will cost.   However, congregations often don’t know how much work a ministry plan calls for or what type of skill sets are needed.   Phase 1 quantifies all this.   Thus, it lets a congregation know the true “cost” of a ministry plan.
  2. Phase 2 allows a congregation to see what it is realistically capable of doing.   It gives the congregation a picture of how much is being asked of called workers, hired staff and volunteers.

This can be extremely beneficial. A common source of tension within congregations is the assumption that someone can handle more work, when the reality is that they are already carrying a full schedule.

This can be true of called worker positions. People do not always understand exactly how much time the pastor spends on tasks like a sermon or hospital visits. Since they are unaware of his schedule, they assume he can handle more. Maybe he can; however, it is also possible that he cannot handle more without compromising his health or family life.

This can be true of lay volunteerism too.   Someone does not understand that Jim’s job requires him to work 70 hours a week.   He is made to feel that he is being lazy or unfaithful when he declines to serve in a position of congregational leadership.   Jim might consider serving, but when he is asked to serve it isn’t made clear if volunteering will require one hour a week or six.

In a loving and encouraging way, Phase 2 gets this all out in the open.

  1. Phase 3 helps a congregation to confront reality, to determine if what they want to do is realistic for them to do.   It also helps congregations to align, as much as possible, skills and interests with jobs and responsibilities. Everyone – called workers, hired staff, and congregational volunteers – must understand this is never going to be entirely possible.   Scripture says that we live under the cross.   That means that when we serve in God’s Kingdom we will often have to deny our flesh, doing jobs that do not align with our interests. However, as much as possible, we want to enable people to serve in areas where they feel competent. When you have people serving in ways they feel competent and are interested in, it makes their service more enjoyable and efficient.
  2. Phase 4 teaches a congregation’s leadership how to be the best possible stewards of all of God’s human resources moving forward.

Thus, going through the MOSE program can help a church fall into the “habit” of examining regularly how a ministry plan lines up with human resources.

FAQs about the MOSE program

Q:       Do we have to go though the Self-Assessment and Adjustment Program (SAA) before we enroll in the MOSE program?

A:   It is often beneficial for a congregation to work through the SAA program before they enroll in the MOSE program. However, ultimately the main prerequisite of the MOSE program is that a congregation has a comprehensive ministry plan.   By “comprehensive” we mean:

  • There is a written plan for the following areas of ministry: worship, outreach/evangelism, discipleship/education, elder work/in-reach, youth ministry (if applicable), stewardship, property & grounds.
  • For each of those areas appropriate annual goals have been set.
  • For each of those areas, some sort of ministry analysis was done of the previous year.
  • For each of those areas, when applicable, due dates have been established for goals.
  • For each of those areas monies have been allocated in the annual budget.

Q:  It says that the “brotherly summary” is a guided non-anonymous survey to summarize the perceived strengths of called workers, staff and congregational leadership.     How does that work?

A:   There are a number of steps: written surveys, phone interviews, etc.   The goal is to identify what Christians perceive to be the strengths of their fellow Christians.   The results of the surveys and interviews are pulled into a positive, written summary of those strengths.   That is then shared with congregational leadership.   When an individual sees what others perceive to be their strengths, he or she can build on those strengths.   He or she might also seek to improve in areas where others have not said he or she is particularly strong.

Q:  Why is congregational lay leadership included in the brotherly summary?   Shouldn’t it just be the called workers whose strengths are evaluated?

A:   Absolutely not.   The church is not a business. This is not a matter of a board evaluating its employees.   The church is a family.   This is a matter of brothers and sisters encouraging one another in their respective callings, helping each other to do Gospel ministry as well as they possibly can with their God-given gifts.   We want that for everyone who serves the congregation in a leadership capacity.

Q:  If Phase 2 identifies strengths, doesn’t it also identify weaknesses?   And if that is the case, couldn’t it be used to try and remove someone from his or her call.

A:   That would violate the doctrine of the call.   When one is called to serve a congregation in a public capacity, his “competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).   His right to serve in that capacity stems from the fact that God himself, through the Church, called him to serve.

Incidentally, this is true not just of full-time called workers. A pastor or teach or staff-minister’s call is large in scope because it is a full-time call and includes compensation.   However, if the scope of someone’s public, representative service a congregation is smaller or does not include compensation that does not change the fact he or she also has been placed into his position by God.   For example, when a congregational president is elected, that also is God working through the Church.   When a congregation asks one to teach in the Sunday school, he or she is also serving at God’s behest in a public, representative capacity.

Therefore, the congregational counselor will not allow the MOSE program to be used in an attempt to “oust” anyone from his or her position of service.   If the congregational counselor identifies that someone in the congregation is trying to use the MOSE program in this way, that individual will not be allowed to continue to participate in the program.

Please understand that this does not mean the MOSE program pretends that no one has any weaknesses.   Precisely because “our competence comes from God,” Christians are not thin-skinned.   Secure in Christ’s approval and his desire for our service, we want to know areas where others perceive that we could grow.   For we want to give Christ our best!   He deserves no less.

Q:  How long does it take to complete the MOSE program?

A:   Typically it takes between four and six months.

Q:  How often will the congregational counselor be on site during the MOSE program?

A:   Typically, the congregational counselor only needs to be on site once.   He is there approximately two days.   During that time, he will meet with the entire congregational leadership at least twice, for a total of about six hours.   Depending on the direction the congregation sets upon in Phase 3, an additional on-site visit may take place with the congregation’s approval.

All other meetings will be conducted by teleconference or webcast.

What is the cost of the SAA program?

The MOSE program is $700 to $1100, depending on the size of the congregation.   This flat fee covers all travel expenses for one on-site visit by the congregational counselor, as well as all administrative expenses. If more than one on-site visit is necessary, that will also be the responsibility of the congregation.     

Additional questions?

If you have any additional questions about the MOSE program, or if you would like your church to participate in it, please contact the director of the CCC, Jonathan Hein.


Phone: 843.873.5522 (Office of Beautiful Savior Ev. Lutheran Church in Summerville, SC.)