by Terry Wilhite
As a pastor for many years, Guy BonGiovanni, the developer of The Pastor’s Tool Kit, says he’s not sure how Moses and the apostles kept up with their flocks. “Given the simpler society, I suppose they could more easily spot special needs and people groups,” he says. “Somehow they ‘covered the bases’ with an appreciable degree of success, even without sophisticated administrative tools.”
BonGiovanni, however, believes that the modern-day pastors should take advantage of technology tools that will help them better communicate and relate to the people they’re leading. “To the extent either the technological or the charismatic component is neglected, leadership will suffer an imbalance of focus and seriously cripple fruit bearing,” he says. With that premise in mind, BonGiovanni has assembled The Pastor’s Toolkit on a CD-Rom. His resources include graphs, charts, grids and other measurement tools, such as surveys, on which you can graph the “pulse beat” of your congregation.
BonGiovanni says his resource was developed so that pastors can get a handle on the condition of their flocks and “eliminate uncertainties about himself, the people who he serves, and the ministry he provides for them.” But the developer is quick to point out that his resources alone are not the answer. “They are merely beginning tools with which to put data on the table where it can be seen and assessed with greater objectivity than otherwise possible.” And he offers the disclaimer that neither his tools nor any others substitute for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a leader’s life.
BonGiovanni provides tools in four critical areas. The first is “Understanding Yourself.” In that domain, he offers a personality profile, spiritual gifts profile, and a member satisfaction survey. The member satisfaction survey is on the CD, but the other two analyses are performed by clicking on a link on the CD-Rom that will take you to a Web site that will compute the results of your personality and spiritual gift answers.
In the second category, he provides tools that relate to purpose and direction. He includes a “Purpose for Being” grid, a “Ministries Analysis” grid and a tool that helps you develop a basic, annual ministries plan. The third area he covers is “church assessment.” He supplies a “population pyramid” that allows a pastor to see in chart form the age demographics of his congregation. Should there be any doubt as to who the dominate personalities are within your church leadership, he presents an “influence grid.” The fourth area BonGiovanni covers is ministry planning. He provides several planning grids in this area and tells you how you should use them. He also provides a personnel finder and placement tool.
BonGiovanni says churches and pastors often fall into the trap of doing the same things, the same way, every time the church doors are opened. For that he prescribes his “Boredom Busters” tool. There are so many tools available in the kit (more than 100 graphic pages) that one may wonder where to start. But BonGiovanni helps you there as well by offering you several pages of suggestions—including stressing that you should be Spirit-led in what to do and when to do it.
He also urges that fear of the unknown is no reason to keep the tools on the CD unused. All of these tools are self-paced. “Take one step at a time,” he says. “If necessary, spread the implementation of the tools over a three-, six-, or nine-month period.”
The CD-Rom is very “Internet-like,” in that a sidebar of “clickable” options allows you to navigate throughout the resource. On that navigational sidebar is a button, “Print All Documents.” I wish the forms, and particularly the survey and ministry work plan grids could have been provided in a word processing file format (such as Microsoft Word) so that I could type my answers into the document using the computer. As it is now, the form has to be printed and completed by hand or sent to the computer printer and then typed. But despite this limitation, they’re still useful tools. The software relies heavily on Adobe Acrobat Reader, a common, free, application. A video overview will run each time you put the CD in unless you click anywhere on the start screen.
Perhaps rule number one in communication is to “know your target audience.” I totally agree with BonGiovanni that we often think we know the people to whom we’re trying to relate but we really don’t. Only you can make the call as to which of his resources are appropriate for your ministry. The Pastor’s Toolkit is available from Life Enrichment Ministries for $69.95 by calling 330-702-1978.
Terry Wilhite is a technology, multimedia, and communications specialist. For more information about his resources, see www.terrywilhite.com.
His e-mail address is