Avoiding Ministry Failure: 5 Questions to Ask when you do a Ministry Pre-mortem

Avoiding Ministry Failure: 5 Questions to Ask when you do a Pre-mortem Dr. Charles StoneMinistry initiatives in the church often fail. A simple planning tool called the pre-mortem, however, can minimize the chances they do so. In my last post I suggested 7 good reasons to conduct the pre-mortem, a tool credited to Dr. Gary Klein.

A pre-mortem is an exercise that assumes your plan spectacularly fails and considers beforehand what might go wrong. It helps teams plan ahead to avoid potential pitfalls.

To get started, you’ll want to schedule a pre-mortem session with your team and include these steps when you convene them.

  • Brief your team about the proposed plan.
  • Describe the imaginary failure in colorful terms. Imagine it as a spectacular fiasco.
  • Ask your team to write down everything they believe could have possibly gone wrong.

After these steps, consider these questions.

  1. What did you miss that contributed to the failure?
  2. What went wrong as you implemented your imaginary plan?
  3. Who messed up and why?
  4. Had you known these pitfalls, what would you have done differently?
  5. After completing your pre-mortem session, what do you need to change about your proposed plan to avoid potential failure?
  6. Who needs to know these changes?

Here’s a helpful guide written by Dr. Klein that describes in more detail how to do a pre-mortem.

Have you ever conducted a pre-mortem? If so, what additional questions would you include?


“I just learned how to conduct a ministry plan pre-mortem to help avoid failure.” (tweet this quote by clicking here)


Related posts:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.