Four Steps to Improve Agency Efficiency and Effectiveness

Published On: March 7, 2019
Ginger Cross with Patti and Jack Phillips

In early 2018, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) launched a new strategic process to ensure the greatest return on investment for its work. Its goal is to bolster the efficiency and impact of GBHEM’s many services as the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church (UMC).

GBHEM partnered with the consulting and training group ROI Institute, Inc., to assess the agency’s current processes and plan for the future.

“The ROI Institute’s methodology has been a major transformational tool we have adopted in everything we do in programs and processes to support the church,” said Rev. Ray Bailey, GBHEM associate general secretary for strategic leadership. “It has decidedly raised the quality of work in GBHEM for a greater impact for the UMC. Drs. Jack Phillips and Patti Phillips, CEO and president of the ROI Institute, have been critical advisers and supported the application throughout our integration.”

Although GBHEM is still in its first year of the ROI process, the agency has already been recognized for its work. In February, it received the ROI Institute’s Best Practice Implementation award. Ginger Cross, GBHEM’s director of research and evaluation, accepted the award on behalf of the agency.

Cross has been instrumental in implementing ROI at GBHEM. She said that the agency is achieving early success with the ROI process by taking these four basic steps toward efficiency and effectiveness:

  1. Surveying Constituents: GBHEM commissioned several independent surveys of its primary constituents to assess reactions to and perceptions of the agency’s services and its ability to meet the UMC’s leadership needs.
  2. Developing Clear Strategies: All GBHEM staff will participate in ROI methodology training. Departmental leaders will use their training to set clear, actionable goals and create strategies for reaching them.
  3. Evaluating Success: In 2018, GBHEM expanded its research and evaluation office from two to four people. This team is identifying key performance indicators, setting up a comprehensive scorecard for agency success and implementing regular monitoring measures like surveys and other forms of data collection and analysis.
  4. Leading by Example: With documentation of its own ROI success, GBHEM is helping other UMC agencies and Nashville-area faith organizations find similar paths to greater efficiency and effectiveness. The agency has been sharing its work with colleagues and hosted a special nonprofit ROI certification training in February.

GBHEM will continue to use the ROI methodology to map new paths to success and ensure that the agency remains an effective steward of United Methodist resources.

To learn more about ROI implementation at GBHEM or to find out how it might benefit your non-profit, contact the GBHEM Office of Marketing and Communications at

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

Related Posts

  • Connexion: Celebrating United Methodist-related Educational Institutions and the Communities They Serve
    Published On: July 5, 2024

    The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is excited to announce the launch of "Connexion," a new initiative that highlights the impact and stories of United Methodist-related institutions across the United States, fostering a deeper sense of community, support, and transformation across the denomination. What is Connexion? United...

  • Fernandes begins tenure as general secretary of two agencies as he assumes GBHEM’s chief executive role
    Published On: July 1, 2024

    Roland Fernandes, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), has assumed leadership of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), effective July 1, 2024. Fernandes has served since the fall of 2020 as general secretary of GBGM and...

  • Building the Church of Tomorrow
    Published On: April 29, 2024

      The process of uniting knowledge and vital piety is a theological core value of the Wesleyan tradition, The United Methodist Church, and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), which guides United Methodist higher education ministries. United Methodists are called to support principled Christian leaders around the...