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Designing a Philosophy of Ministry

Principle: In a healthy, responsible church, these four kinds of growth will find expression.

What types of growth are there?

 

Four Types of Growth in the Church

Principle: In a healthy, responsible church, these four kinds of growth will find expression.
  1. Organic (Internal Growth)

Direction - Within the church
Function - Nurture

  • 2 Pet. 3:18—"Grow in grace and knowledge."
  • Eph. 4:17—"that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith..."
  • 1 Thess. 3:12—"the Lord make you to increase and abound in love..."
  • 1 Pet. 2:2—"Desire the sincere milk of the Word..."
  • 2 Pet. 1:5—"...add to your faith..." (See also: Gal. 5:26; Eph. 4:13,24)
  1. Expansion Growth

Direction - Out to Local Community
Function - Evangelism

  • Acts 1:15—"the number of believers was about 120."
  • Acts 2:41—"and the same day there was added about 3,000 souls."
  • Acts 2:42—"the Lord added to the Church daily..."
  • Acts 4:4—"many which heard believed, the number of men was 5,000."
  • Acts 5:14—"Believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of men and women."
  • Acts 6:7—"the number of disciples multiplied greatly..."
  1. Extension Growth

Direction - Unevangelized Communities
Function - Church Planting

  • Acts 8:1—"they were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria."
  • Acts 9:31—"the churches had rest throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria."
  • Acts 9:35—"and all that dwelt at Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord."
  1. Bridging Growth

Direction - Beyond Cultural Borders
Function - Cross Cultural Church Planting and Missions

  • Acts 8:1—"they were scattered throughout the regions of Samaria."
  • Acts 10:1—"A certain man in Caesarea...the Italian band."
  • Acts 13:3,4—"they departed to Seleucia, Cyprus, Salamis, Paphos."
  • Acts 13:13—"Perga in Pamphylia, Antioch in Pisidia."

 

What makes a church grow?

The Key Scriptures on Growth

 

1 Corinthians 3:5-17

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (See 1 Cor. 8:1; 14:12.)

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, [Peter means rock.] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Or hell] will not overcome it.

Ephesians 2:19-22

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (See Eph 4:11-16.)

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Jude 1:20

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 13:10

This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. (See also Col. 2:18; Acts 16:5; 20:32; 2 Cor. 10:15b-17; 2 Pet. 3:18.)

How Do We Implement A Growth Strategy?

(Use of the Planning Funnel)

Develop a Philosophy of Ministry

The Basic Information Concerning a Philosophy of Ministry

The need for a philosophy of ministry:

  1. It helps us to answer the "why" question. Why are we doing what we are doing?
  2. It determines what we do and what we don't do. Churches can't and shouldn't do everything. A Philosophy of Ministry will act as a screen upon which you will base your acceptance of new ministries or elimination of ineffective ones.
  3. It alleviates false guilt and provides a basis for measuring accomplishments.
  4. It unifies the members of the church.
  5. It provides motivation.
  6. It provides a basis for accountability.
  7. It gives assurance you are doing God's work, not busy work.
  8. It gives the church an overall direction.
  9. It will give your church its unique personality. It will help you define your style of ministry, which is your distinctive approach to ministry.
  10. It will aid you as you determine areas of growth.
  11. This philosophy of ministry will help you more fully reach the unchurched.

In other words, the philosophy of ministry for a church is a key foundation upon which every ministry of the church should be built. Howard Hendricks has said, "More failures in the church come about because of an ambiguity of purpose than for any other reason."

The use of a philosophy of ministry: Where do you use it?

  1. Use it in new member orientation.
  2. Use it in leadership training.
  3. Use it in the bulletin.
  4. Use it in public prayer.
  5. Use it in sermons.
  6. Use it at social events.
  7. Use it to measure accomplishments at annual meetings.
  8. Use it and refer to it as often as possible.

The goal of a philosophy of ministry:

  1. Work toward the point where everyone in the organization can understand and state its uniqueness (their strategic distinction in the marketplace) in 25 words or less.
  2. Develop and implement a philosophy of ministry within the context of an overall growth strategy for your church. It is an integral part of your overall growth strategy, not independent of it!

The Basic Elements in a Philosophy of Ministry—the three lenses

Scripture/Biblical World

What is Scripture calling us to do and be as a Church? 2 Cor. 5:11-21; Eph 4:1-16; 5:18-21; Matt. 20:24-28; 28:18-20, etc.

What are the key passages that all churches should heed when they are seeking to discover their mission? (Acts 20:27) What specific passages is the Lord emphasizing in our lives that may be an indication of a specific direction He is calling us to?

Caution: Don't isolate yourself from the whole counsel of God. (See Theological Foundations of a Philosophy

Remember: The Scripture is our message book and our method book.

History

Here we observe history and our life from three vantage points—the relational world, the inner world and the church world.

Relational World. This is where we live with others. The lessons from this context can be invaluable in determining our future direction. Here are the kinds of questions we might ask as we view this area of our world:

What have I learned from others' lives concerning ministry?

List the big lessons that impacted your life and ministry from:

  • Mentors/spiritual directors/disciplers' lives and teachings
  • Parents/family
  • Friends/enemies
  • Authors

    What lessons have I/others learned about small group experiences?

    How will these lessons influence my philosophy of ministry?

    What have I/others learned about the administration of small groups, the care and training of small group leaders, the kinds of small groups that are effective?

    What character qualities have I seen in my contemporaries/leaders that are necessary for leadership, ministry, etc.?

    What have I learned about discipleship from others? My own success or failure in discipling/ministering to others?

    How will the above affect my philosophy of ministry?

    Has my experience taught me the need for a mentor? Why or Why not?

Inner World. This has to do with the whole area of your inner journey with God.

  • Spiritual disciplines. This will take some reflection on the spiritual disciplines that you believe have been helpful/necessary for ministry—e.g., fasting, biblical meditation, journal writing, prayer. How should these be incorporated in your ministry/the church's ministry? How should they be incorporated in your life now?

     

  • Personal Reflection. Where have I been strong? Where have I been weak? Where have I been successful? Where have I failed? Why? What lessons has this taught me about myself and ministry in the future? How will this influence my philosophy of ministry?

     

  • Church World. The contemporary church world and church history have much to say to us concerning ministry. We can save ourselves a lot of heartache and failure if we will learn from the successes and failures of those who have gone before us—1 Cor. 10:6-13; Rom. 15:4; Heb. 11-12:3; Acts 6,13,18-20; Prov. 1:5; 24:32-34; Ps. 42:4. There are lessons from Israel's past and the early Church, that have much to say to us.

    What lessons has the New Testament church taught us? For instance, how did the early church select and train church leaders? What can we learn from the training of the Lord's disciples? How has the church in the past planted a church in another city? (See Acts 18-20 and notice how Paul started in Corinth to plant the church in Ephesus. Who did he start with in Corinth? What kind of training did this couple receive? How did he do once he got to Ephesus and returned?)

    What has church history shown us is the first stage of ministry development needed in a growing church? (servants/deacons/workers). What does Acts 6:1-7 tell us? How will this influence my philosophy of ministry?

    I am convinced that one of the best ways to learn from the past and avoid errors and failures in the future is through a study of biographies. Heb 13:7-8—"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8] Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

    Because Jesus is "the same yesterday, today and forever…," we can have great hope that what He did through the lives of people in the past, He can do today as well. The character studies of those in the Scripture as well as those in church history can help us to see how God developed leaders and what He taught them. As we apply these lessons, we can imitate their faith and grow as they did.

    A study of the church you are in will give you a lot of necessary information concerning who you will most likely reach in the world. Statistics reveal that a church will grow most often through the relationships of those who are presently in the congregation. Therefore by studying the church, you will have a picture of the potential of the church to reach others. Study the age grouping(s) you are focused on—their number and characteristics. If you are doing a whole church study—study the ratio of adults to children.

Culture

A study of culture will include the outer world you are attempting to reach—Matt. 9:36; 14:14; Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2-3; Luke 4:17-21; Acts 17:16ff.

We need to ask and look:

  1. Where is our culture/world at now?
  2. What is its belief systems, values, cultural groupings and needs?

We need to ask if we see what Jesus sees. How is the world harassed, helpless and like sheep without a shepherd? We need to break out of our isolated world and rub shoulders with hurts. We do that intentionally! I suggest we pray to have our Lord's eyes and consider the following action steps to help us discern our culture.


The Action Steps Needed to Discern Your Culture

(Adapted from Beyond Church Growth by Robert Logan, pp. 74-75.)

Identify your target group.

  • What type of people has God given you a burden to reach? (e.g., blue collar, white collar, students, single parents, euthenics, poor, young families, elderly, boomers, boomlets, children, youth, etc.
  • What department have you been assigned?
  • What type of people would respond best to your leadership?

Make a commitment before the Lord that you will strive to fill your church with lost sheep (unchurched unbelievers). Is the choice of a target group an option for a philosophy of ministry? Yes, but if we choose to take a broad approach to ministry, then we may have to design some programs and worship experiences focused on the various groups in our church—e.g., contemporary worship versus traditional worship. We'll have to ask and answer: How will we structure our worship services? Will we departmentalize our ministry?

Did Jesus adapt His ministry approach to individuals? What do the following passages tell us? (Luke 19:1-10; Mark 6:30-44; 8:22-36; 9:33-35;10:17-22; John 4:1-30; 8:1-11; Matt 9:27-31; 23:1-28; John 20:24-29; Luke 11:37-43).

Cultivate your passion for listening and reading.

  • Listen both objectively and subjectively for facts and perceptions. Listen naively. Try a variety of listening methods to connect with the people in your church, community, world.
  • In other words, develop friendships, or at least communication opportunities with those who aren't in your circle of friends—talk with people—listen for their needs, and with sensitivity, ask questions. Listen especially to those who are dealing with the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people, e.g., pastors, public officials, social service agencies, school administrators.
  • Read newspapers, surveys, articles and books that describe your culture/area and look for common problems/needs.
  • Keep up on the issues that are important to your culture.
  • Find a restaurant, a store, a mall—crossroads in your community where people gather. Hang out and get acquainted and listen to their concerns, questions.

Take a walking tour of your community/neighborhood—places where people are—and listen and observe (hospitals, rest homes, missions, resturants, retail stores, malls, etc); Matt. 9:1-37; Acts 17:16-34

Take a ministry walk through your community—Ask, how might our church minister the Gifts of the Spirit in the Marketplace (Acts).


The Basic Design of a Philosophy of Ministry

Where does the above material come from, and once you gather it, what do you do with it?

Collect and consolidate the Scriptural, historical and cultural information outlined above from the following possible sources:

  1. Personal study and reflection—Acts 17:16.
  2. Church staff, church leadership—e.g., deacons, Sunday School teachers, youth, C.E., etc.—2 Cor 7:7; Acts 21:19;14:27
  3. Pastor's circle—informal gathering of church attenders
  4. Papers about your area written by various members and brought for discussion—e.g., papers on youth culture, single parents in the area, families in crisis, social service agencies, etc.
  5. Small groups, leadership retreats, support groups, Pastors classes
  6. Demographic studies of your area—e.g., business, city, yourself, etc.

Ask these questions:

  1. What unique and specific needs and interests do our own members/attenders look to our church to fulfill for them and through them—e.g., the church gathered?
  2. What specific needs in our community can and should our church do something about—e.g., the church scattered?
  3. What specific needs in our world can and should our church do something about?

Note: This information will not necessarily be available initially, but these are questions a growing church should continue to ask itself—especially the leadership.

Note: Initially the senior pastor will be responsible for discerning the major direction of a small but growing church. This is a process that should broaden to include others, however, as the church matures.

Write a concise summary of your philosophy of ministry.

Example: "Hillcrest Chapel is to be a dynamic force of people (Body of believers) filled with God's Spirit, meeting people's needs in Jesus' name." How will this be done? By enjoying God's presence through a lifestyle of worship, by being equipped for service, by encouraging healing fellowship through love, acceptance and forgive-ness, and by being enlisted and sent out as salt and light to the Bellingham area and the world.

Describe your philosophy of ministry in one or two pages. There is no set format for doing this. (See Appendix.)

Example: (web site) Bethany Christian Assembly, Everett

Write a description of a generic target person, or a description of a typical person from the geographical area of your ministry—e.g., Bellingham Bob, Unchurched Harry (Bill Hybels), or Saddleback Sam (Rick Warren), Wenatchee Willy, George George. Test your description with people in the area—Christian and non-Christian, other pastors, school teachers, city officials, Chamber of Commerce.

Describe how you will structure your worship, programs and ministry to meet this person's and your church family's needs.

Ask questions like, what major activities will we use in our church to communicate and advance our growth strategy? (e.g., small groups/large groups, care center, adult equipping seminars, School of Discipleship.)

Remember, the goal is to work toward the point where everyone in the church can understand and state their individual and collective uniqueness as a church gathered and scattered.

Measure your philosophy of ministry with these questions:

  1. What is it about our church that makes us unique?
  2. Who are we trying to reach?
  3. Is it accurate to our experience?
  4. Is it stated in a manner that is:

    Enduring?

  5. Succinct?

    Memorable?

    Believable?

    Energizing to all?

In addition to the need to develop a philosophy of ministry, there are several more steps if we are going to have an effective Contemporary Growth Strategy.

Once the Philosophy of Ministry is developed, continue on to the next step in the Planning Funnel:

Pray for ministry, leadership and outreach development and deployment

I don't think we are feeling compassion or praying like we should, because we aren't seeing the world and its needs. Jesus had to tell the disciples in John 4:35, "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest?' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." Let's pray that we have our Lord's eyes!

 

What does Jesus see in people? Look at Matthew 9:35-38:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

Jesus described the people He saw as:

  • Harassed—means walking with difficulty; to be mangled, flayed, lacerated, weary, exhausted.
  • Helpless—to be cast down, thrown down.
  • Like sheep without a shepherd; people who don't have the Lord as their Shepherd are harassed and helpless.

Is this view of people obvious to you? Can a person look together on the outside and yet be falling apart on the inside? Yes! That's why we need to pray for our Lord's eyes, because we don't see as we should.

Jesus' description makes it obvious what these people need—a Shepherd (9:36b). This is profound truth. Our mission is not to go out and shape up the world, or just meet physical needs. Our task is to look through the eyes of Jesus and see the helplessness of people without a shepherd—their depression, their suppression, their mangled, flayed, lacerated, weary, exhausted and cast down spiritual state.

When Jesus saw the crowds, He asked His disciples to pray for workers—Matt. 9:37-38. Make this a continual prayer of your heart as a leader. Provide opportunities for leaders to see the harvest and to get together to pray for other workers—e.g., take them with you as you minister. Bathe your philosophy, goals and strategy in prayer, for only then will you know which direction you should take—Mark 1:35-39.

Then as you are praying...

Project goals/vision for the future in keeping with your calling/philosophy.

Leadership implies there is some direction given that people might follow. Gandhi was reported to have said on one occasion, "There go my people, I must catch them for I am their leader." (See Proverbs 11:14.)

This whole area of goals brings up a lot of concerns. To lessen those concerns, ask and answer the following questions about the whole process of planning.

  1. Is planning/vision important? Proverbs 14:15—"…a prudent man gives thought to his steps." (See also 16:9; 16:1; 24:3-4.)

     

  2. How important is it to look ahead?

To avoid danger—Prov. 22:3; 27:12
To make the most of every opportunity—Eph. 5:15-1:7
To make sure our resources are allocated according to our priorities—1 Cor. 16:1-2.

  1. Can't we just trust God for the future?

    Prov. 19:2—"Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."
    Prov. 14:8-"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways."

  2. Should we keep working on our plan if it isn't succeeding?

    Prov. 20:18—"Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance."
    Prov. 16:9—"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

    For further study: James 4:13-16; 1 Cor. 4:19; Rom. 15:22-33; 1 Cor. 16:7; Acts 16:6-10; 20:22-23; Psalm 37; Prov. 19:21.

  3. What should we do once we have determined a plan?

    Psalm 37:5—"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this."
    Proverbs 16:3-4a—"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything according to His ends..." (See again Prov. 16:9.)

  4. What attitude should we have as we plan? Isn't it presumptuous to plan? Shouldn't we just sit back and wait for the Spirit to direct? Listen how the men of Scripture chose to plan and participate in the process:

    1 Thess. 3:1-2—"...we thought it best..."
    Phil. 2:25-26—"...I thought it necessary..."
    1 Cor. 16:3-4—"If it is fitting..."
    Acts 6:2—"It would not be right..."
    Acts 15:28-29—"It seemed good..."
    1 Cor. 4:19—"But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing..."
    1 Cor. 16:7—"…I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits." (See also Acts 16:6-10,20:22-23; Romans 15:22-33.)

  5. What are goals?

    "Goals are a means to move a congregation in the direction it wants to go. They are not ends in themselves, but means to help the congregation accomplish the end result of its mission." (Lloyd M. Perry, Revitalizing the 20th Century Church, Moody Press, p. 32.)

  6. What are some examples? (from Hillcrest Chapel's 5-year goals)

    Build or remodel church facilities that are adequate for present and future numerical goals.

    • Select a facilities committee
    • Develop options for facilities expansion
    • Agree on a timetable for phased development of facilities
    • Develop a financial plan for facilities expansion
    • Work diligently at a people building plan to run simultaneously

Develop a system to help more effectively assimilate newcomers into the church—i.e.

  • more frequent pastors classes
  • trained greeters and ushers
  • watch/care of infrequent attenders
  • prayer support for crises
  • better equipped and staffed nursery
  • better signing—inside and outside of building
  • increased sensitivity to newcomers by regular attenders
  • continue to improve landscaping of building.

Develop a spiritual gift seminar that will help assist people in discovering their spiritual gifts, and to find a specific place of ministry within the church gathered and the church scattered.

Establish a follow-up/leadership development plan for Hillcrest.

Develop specific leadership training for small group apprentice leaders. Goal: Every small group leader will have an apprentice.

Every small group will birth a new small group each year with their apprentice leader, and add at least two members to their group.

 

Train and deploy support group leaders for Hillcrest. These leaders and groups will be encouraged to seek their own members, and will also provide a place of referral for existing small groups when needed.

 

Encourage the development of spiritual enrichment through Inner Journey notebook, personal spiritual retreats, silent retreats, spiritual disciplines of prayer, biblical memorization and meditation.

Once you have prayerfully determined your goals, the next step is:

Wise implementation of your philosophy and goals

How do we plan to get there? A goal planned is 50% achieved. According to Lindgren and Shawchuck who wrote Let My People Go: Empowering Laity for Ministry, "A plan needs to be written and comprehensive enough to serve as a road map to achieving goals." A good implementation plan according to Lindgren and Shawchuck will give information regarding the following:

  1. Strategizing: What activities will we do to reach our goal? Brainstorm which activities will be most feasible. Choose the best of those options and put them into sequential order.
  2. Recruiting and Assigning: When will each activity take place? Assign no one a task until they have freely agreed to do the task. This person agrees to be responsible to see that their assigned step is carried out on schedule.
  3. Resourcing: What are the equipment, space, money and worker needs to carry out the activities?
  4. Monitoring: How will we check up to be sure the plan is functioning properly and on time? What steps are accomplished and what should we do next? Are the steps being done according to schedule? Are the workers in need of resources? Do we need additional workers? Review often the progress and the results.

    Suggestion: Appoint a "goal monitor/administrator" to monitor the entire plan. This person is responsible to remind people of their assignments, to stay close in touch with workers, to provide resources, to help solve problems and to spot potential breakdowns.

Evaluation of the progress

How close did we come to our destination?

Perry and Shawchuck's Revitalizing the 20th Century Church suggests the following list of questions:

Evaluation of Goals and Objectives

  1. What are the goals we have been pursuing?
  2. Are these goals coherent with our mission? Are they the right goals?
  3. Are the goals clear (do we know what we have to do to achieve them?) and realistic (can we hope to achieve them?)?

Evaluation of Programs and Activities

 

  1. Is our program(s) coherent with our mission and goals?
  2. To what extent is our program(s) achieving its goals? Is it effective?
  3. Is our program(s) worth the time, effort, and money we are putting into it? Is it efficient?
  4. Are there any positive and/or negative side effects? Are our programs causing any unplanned, unanticipated results?

Problem Solving and Future Planning

  1. What changes need to be made in our program(s) to make it more effective in reaching our goals and mission?
  2. What new goals and programs do we need to help us achieve our mission?

This concludes the work on our planning funnel. It is designed to be used repeatedly. It's a wonderful tool in "The Design of a Contemporary Growth Strategy," but remember, it is God who makes things grow.


Assess the climate for growth (your growth)

(by Al Broom)

Circle the number representing the degree that these exist in the life of your church/ministry.

Climate for Growth





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Prayer














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Purpose














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Simple Organization














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Communication of Strategy














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Willingness to Change














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Unity of Leadership














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Leadership Trained in Ministry










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Functional Goals and Objectives








Operate by Faith














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The Big Dream

Effective church growth planning requires at least three ingredients: a clearn mission statement, a big dream, and specific goals/vision statement:

After the Philosophy of Ministry comes the dream. "Not much happens without a dream. And for something great to happen there must always be a great dream. Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. Much more than a dream is required to bring it to reality; but the dream must be there first," says Robert Greenleaf.

An effective pastor helps his church dream big dreams, and enables members to discover and act on God's dream for their church. (An obviously important assumption is that the pastor believes God has a great dream for that church!)

Where does the energy come from that moves a church and its leaders forward in growth? It comes from the shared dream of that church and its leaders!

Believing that God has given your church a unique opportunity for ministry—right where you are—is the foundation upon which the dream begins to form. Are you tapping into the energy source that a dream can provide?

Behind every great church are dreamers of great dreams!

 

 

Appendix

 

Philosophy of Ministry—Bethany Christian Assembly

Our objectives are four-fold:

To Reach

Jesus said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Just as a fisherman uses a net, or hook and bait to catch fish, so we must attract the lost to Jesus Christ by how we live, by what we do, and by what we say. The Apostle Paul emphasizes this point when he says, "By all means that I may save some." Our methods of ministry must zero in on reaching the lost. Introducing children, young people, and adults to Christ will require that we understand them and their needs. Before we can win them to Christ, we must reach them with the gospel. Our prayers and efforts must always center on outreach to the lost. We need to always be reaching!

To Win

Jesus said, "Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..." Once we have reached the unsaved with the "good news," we must win them to the Savior. Much prayer and love must be directed toward our non-Christian friends. Follow-up must be ongoing, and personal relationships must be established so that others can see Jesus in our lives. "There will be no impact without contact!" Only as we take time to truly care for the unsaved and befriend them, will they understand what it means to be a Christian. We must be soul winners in our church and in our community. We need to always be winning!

To Train

Jesus said, "...and teach them to obey all I have commanded you." To reach the lost with the gospel and to win them to Christ is only part of our mission. We must also disciple them, or train them to follow Christ. We must teach them how to pray, how to study God's Word, how to overcome temptation, and prepare them for their call to Christian service. We need to always be training!

To Send

Jesus said, "...GO...!" God's people are to be trained for ministry and then sent into ministry. Every believer has a God-given gift and must be enabled in discovering it, developing it, and using it for God's glory. Jesus also said, "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Send forth laborers..." We need to ways be sending!

This is full-circle discipleship. God has called us to reach the lost, to win them, to train them, and to send them into Christian ministry.

 

I. The Motive: 2 Cor. 5:11-15

  1. The Fear of the Lord--v. 11. Why?--v. 10; Prov. 1:7; Ps. 34:9; 36:1; 130:3-4
  2. The Love of Christ--v. 14

 

 

II. The Message: 2 Cor. 5:14b-21

  1. Christ died for all—vv. 14-15

     

  2. Christ arose—v. 15c

     

  3. Christ is the One we live for, not ourselves—v. 15b

     

  4. Christians see people in a different way than the world—v. 16a
They are made in His image—Gen. 1:27; 9:6; James 3:9
They are valuable—Matt. 6:26; 10:30-31; 12:12; John 3:16
They are eternal—Matt. 25:41,46
  1. Christians are in Christ—v. 17a

We are new creations: v. 17—"The old is gone and the new has come"
We are reconciled to God—v. 18a
We have our sins forgiven and forgotten—v. 19a

  1. Christ, who had no sin, was made sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God—v. 21

     

  2. Christians are risen with Christ and seated with Him—Eph. 2:4-10

 

 

III. The Ministry: 2 Cor. 5:18-20

  1. We have the ministry of reconciliation—vv. 18b,19b.

     

  2. We are Christ's ambassadors—v. 20.

His appeal is through us
We implore on Christ's behalf—v. 20b

 

 

IV. The Method: the enablement

How will our ministry be effective?

  1. Filling of the Spirit—Eph. 5:18-20

     

  2. Service—Matt. 20:24-28; Eph. 4:1-2,12b

     

  3. Gifts/Equipping—Eph. 4:7,11-12a; 1 Cor. 12-14; Rom. 12:6-8

     

  4. Discipleship—Matt. 28:18-20

    1. The Power—v. 18

    2. The Principle activity commanded: make disciples—v. 19. What does that mean?

    Evangelism: going (i.e., initiative is needed)
    Establishment: baptizing (i.e., initiation is mandatory)
    Equipping: teaching to observe—v. 20a (e.g., instruction)

    3. The Promised presence—v. 20b.

  5. Follow the pattern of Christ and the apostles—Matt. 4:18-22; Mk. 1:14-20; Lk. 4:18-19; Eph. 2:19-22; Acts 1-6; 2 Tim. 2:2.

  6. Large group/small groups ministry—Acts 2:46; 12:12; 20:20

 

V. The Measure: Eph. 4:12b-16
How do we know if we have succeeded?

  1. We will all grow and build up the Body—v. 12. What is the goal of this growth?
    Unity—v. 13a; Eph. 4:1-3
    Maturity—v. 13b
    Conformity—v. 13c (i.e., like Christ)
    Stability—v. 14 (not gullibility)

     

  2. We will speak the truth in love—v. 15a

     

  3. We will grow up into Christ and from Christ—vv. 15b,16

     

  4. We will each do our part in the Body—vv. 7,16b; 2:10

     

  5. We will grow in witness and impact on this world—Acts 2:47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 6:8; 8:1,12; 9:31; 11:19-24; 12:24, etc.

     

  6. We will become all things to all men so that by all possible means we might save some—1 Corinthians 9:22

     

  7. We will go into strict training so we can run the race marked out for us, not running aimlessly, but in a way so as to get the prize that will last forever—1 Corinthains 9:24-26; Hebrew 12:1-3.

 

VI. The Means—the key Scriptures on growth

1 Corinthians 3:5-17

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.

It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
(See 1 Cor. 8:1; 14:12.)

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, [Peter means rock.] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Or hell] will not overcome it.

Ephesians 2:19-22

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (See Eph 4:11-16.) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Jude1:20

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 13:10

This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. (See also Col. 2:18; Acts 16:5; 20:32; 2 Cor. 10:15b-17; 2 Pet. 3:18.)