DEVELOPING A MODEL OF MINISTRY

church-word-press

DRIVING PRINCIPLES

Driving Principle #1 – Every church needs to decide if it will drive people through the Law or through Grace.

Churches that drive people through the Law focus on what we do for God. Their main goal is to get people to behave like Jesus.

Churches that drive people through Grace focus on what God does for us. Their main goal is to get people to depend on Jesus.

John Ortberg explains it like this: “In Australia there are two main methods for keeping cattle on the ranch. One is to build a fence around the perimeter. The other is to dig a well in the center of the property. I think Jesus is more like a well than a fence”.

fence-vs-well

Churches which build fences tend to want to control people. They’re constantly looking over people’s shoulders making sure they don’t put a foot wrong. They make up extra rules and enforce them as if they’re Biblical. And their preaching and programs are focused on what we can do for God.

But churches which dig wells know that people need to be free. They know it’s pointless trying to get people to change their behaviour without first changing their heart. They continually remind each other of God’s goodness and kindness. They see each other as fellow sinners who desperately need Jesus.

The sad truth is, it’s possible to build a great church by building fences. It’s just that the people in that church will be driven by performance, guilt, frustration, disappointment, pride and fear.

But if we want a church full of people experiencing freedom and joy and love and grace, then we need to build it by digging wells.

Phillip Yancey says “I began to see the church…as a community of people thirsty for grace”.

Driving Principle #2 – Every church needs to create an Integration Pathway and a Spiritual Pathway.

Because they are a community, they need to create an integration pathway to help people shift from disconnected to connected.

Because they are a church, they need to create a spiritual pathway to help people shift from unbeliever to missionary.

> INTEGRATION PATHWAY: SHIFTING PEOPLE FROM DISCONNECTED TO CONNECTED

Rick Warren says: “Lyle Schaller has done extensive research that shows the more friendships a person has in a congregation, the less likely he is to become inactive or leave. In contrast, I once read about a survey of four hundred church drop-outs who were asked why they left their churches. Over 75 percent of the respondents said, ‘I didn’t feel anyone cared whether I was there or not’”.

Charles Arn cites data which graphs the percentage of people who drop out of church vs the number of new friends they make when they arrive at church.

Drop Out Stats.png

Based on this, David Chatelier argues that new arrivals to church are likely to leave if they cannot build five or six significant relationships within their first 6 months.

Every church needs to figure out how they will integrate people into the life of their community.

> SPIRITUAL PATHWAY: SHIFTING PEOPLE FROM UNBELIEVER TO MISSIONARY

The Bible makes it clear that not everyone is in the same place spiritually.

The Apostle Paul said: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow”. Jesus started His ministry with a bunch of unbelieving teenagers, but by the time He had ascended they had become missionaries and church planters.

Therefore the goal is not to be the church with the most spiritually mature Christians in the world. Rather the goal is to take unbelievers, lead them to Jesus, help them grow in their faith, and send them out as missionaries.

One way to describe this is to think of four stages of spiritual growth…

process

Every church needs to figure out how they will lead unbelievers to become missionaries.

Driving Principle #3 – Every church has a limited amount of time, energy, money, staff & volunteers.

Just as Jesus sometimes had to withdraw from the endless list of needs and opportunities, the church also will sometimes need to withdraw from the endless list of needs and opportunities.

From an organizational perspective, the church’s activity level is limited by…

> BUDGET

Although there is nearly always more that can be done to increase giving, it is worth considering what could be a reasonable expectation based on average giving of other churches.

Realistic figures for weekly giving would probably be between $35 and $40 per Average Number of Adults per Sunday

Conservative Expectation = Average Number of Adults per Sunday × $35
Desirable Expectation = Average Number of Adults per Sunday × $40

> STAFF TIME

Church Growth experts suggest that staffing should be…
a. One full-time staff member for every 100 people.
b. Approximately 50% of a church’s budget.

Both these figures are just guides.

> NUMBER OF LEADERS

Church growth experts have found that the maximum number of people a church can expect in leadership is approximately 25 to 30%.

If this is the case, then a church has three options…

1. Work extremely hard to increase this percentage.
(Although this figure was given by churches who are intentional about leadership development, so it’s unlikely that many churches will do better than 30%).

2. Ask every leader to lead more than one thing.
For example, a leader may be asked to lead a small group, a worship team, and a ministry team. This of course will most likely lead to burn out or leader being too spread to do an effective job.

3. Create of model of doing church that only requires 25% to 30% of average attendance to be involved in leadership.
For instance, if a church seeks to integrate everyone into a small group, and the average small group consist of 2 leaders out of a total of 10 adults, then already 20% of the church is involved in small group leadership.

> CONTACT TIME FOR REGULAR ATTENDERS

Church Growth experts suggest that contact time for regular attenders should be limited to…
a. Two activities per week
b. A total of 4 to 5 hours/week

Both these figures are just guides.

Driving Principle #4 – Every church needs to measure fruit rather than activity.

We often hear churches talk about ‘faithfulness’, but hear very little about measuring ‘fruitfulness’. We often hear churches talk about ‘planting seeds’, but hear very little about ‘reaping the harvest’.

But Jesus wants both faithfulness and fruitfulness. Jesus spoke about planting seeds. But He also spoke much about ‘reaping the harvest’.

Donald McGavran says that “church growth is basically a theological stance”. He goes onto say: “It is not enough to search for lost sheep. The Master Shepherd is not pleased with a token search; he wants His sheep found”.

As a result, there are at least 2 implications that could be considered…

> WE SHOULD EXPECT TO SEE FRUIT

Jesus said: “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). He went on to say: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).

World Wide
The Joshua Project released a Global Report which states: “More people have become Christians in the last one-hundred years, than all the previous centuries combined. Evangelical Christianity is the fastest growing religious movement in the world, growing twice as fast as Islam, and three times the rate of the population explosion. One million churches have been planted in the last fifteen years”.

Africa
> Has jumped from 9% Christian to 55% Christian in 100 years in spite of Aids, poverty, civil war, etc…

Korea
> Has jumped from 1% Christian to 40% Christian in 100 years.

China
> Grown from 2.7 Million Evangelical Christians to 75 Million in the last 35 years (Operation World)
> China is on a 100-year trajectory to go from about 2% to at least 30% Christian (Tim Keller, http://eppc.org/publications/dr-timothy-keller-at-the-march-2013-faith-angle-forum/)

India
> Christianity has grown from 2% to 10% in the last decade

And although much of this fruit is outside of western countries, there is much reason to believe that God wants to produce much fruit in the developed world…

United States
> According to Ed Stetzer, 3,500 churches are shutting down every year, while 4,000 churches are being planted. As a result, church attendance in the U.S. has begun to grow again.

London
According to the Bible Society…
> Church attendance in the capital grew by 16 per cent in the seven years to 2012
> At least 5,000 new churches have been started in Britain since 1980.
> The adult membership of the Anglican Diocese of London has risen by over 70 per cent since 1990.

Australia
According to the National Church Life Survey…
> One in eight Australian congregations has a conversion rate of 10 to 15%.
> One in fourteen Australian congregations has a conversion rate of over 15%.

Donald McGavran says: “Christians might be excused for neglecting the divine directive in ages when most peoples were hostile to the gospel; but when many segments of society at home and abroad are ready for change, can hear the gospel, and can be won, what answer shall we give to God if we neglect the work of reconciling them to him?” The fact is, people are more open to the gospel now than they have ever been.

> WE NEED TO INTENTIONALLY ASSESS THE LEVEL OF FRUITFULNESS

McGavran argues that “few leaders of church or mission are acutely conscious of church growth”. They are unaware of whether or not their efforts to search are actually leading to anyone being found.  It seems obvious then, that church leaders and church participants need to spend time evaluating their evangelism efforts and then make the congregation aware of these findings.

Mark Mittleberg, in his book ‘Becoming a Contagious Church’, suggests that churches in the west should seek to have a conversion rate of 10% per year. That is, that for every 100 believers, there would be 10 unbelievers becoming Christians per year. Of course this is just one person’s perspective. But given what is currently been done in Australia, and the receptivity of Australians, it seems achievable.

The same can be said when it comes to any aspect of the Christian life. What percentage of our community feels a ‘sense of belonging’? How many are growing in their relationship with God? Do our people feel equipped and encouraged and supported to live as missionaries of God’s grace?

DEVELOPING A MODEL OF MINISTRY

Ministry Framework #1 – Garden

One way to think about church is to think of it like a garden. Just as we plant lots of different seeds in the garden in the hope that they will become fruitful plants, we start lots of different programs in the church in the hope that they will become fruitful ministries.

Both integration and spiritual growth can be facilitated under this model.

> INTEGRATION PATHWAY: SHIFTING PEOPLE FROM DISCONNECTED TO CONNECTEDSmorgasboard

Integration happens through involvement in many different activities: small group, worship team, community events, ministry team, prayer group, etc…

This of course makes the community very strong, as there are lots of different connections being formed.

> SPIRITUAL PATHWAY: SHIFTING PEOPLE FROM UNBELIEVER TO MISSIONARY
Spiritual growth is facilitated by offering a smorgasbord of spiritual options. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather it takes into account individual needs and different personality types. Both believers and unbelievers are encouraged to participate in activities which help them to grow spiritually.

> ASSESSING FOR FRUIT
Under this model, steps would need to be taken to ensure the following…
1. That not too many seeds are planted in the garden.
2. That a process is put in place to determine which plants are fruitful
3. That unfruitful plants are either pruned or removed.

Ministry Framework #2 – Pathway

Another way to think about church is to think of it like a pathway. Although people can go many different ways to get from A to B, a pathway provides a clear direction for those who don’t know where to go or what step to take.

Both integration and spiritual growth can be facilitated under this model.

> INTEGRATION PATHWAY: SHIFTING PEOPLE FROM DISCONNECTED TO CONNECTEDPathway

Integration happens through involvement in one small group rather than involvement in multiple activities.

Because there are less activities being run, there are less connections being formed, but because people are less busy, there is more time to build friendships on an informal basis.

> SPIRITUAL PATHWAY: SHIFTING PEOPLE FROM UNBELIEVER TO MISSIONARY
Spiritual growth occurs by placing intentional steps in place. Often one of these steps also includes a specific step to integrate people into a small group. Some examples include…

Campus Crusade for Christ (Bill Bright)

WIN Discovery Group
BUILD Discipleship Group
SEND Action Group

Willow Creek Community Church (Bill Hybels)
(7 step strategy that they previously used)

1. Build a relationship
2. Share a verbal witness
3. Invite to a seeker-service
4. Become part of New Community (mid-week service for believers)
5. Participate in a small group
6. Serve in the body of Christ
7. Steward financial resources

Saddleback Valley Community Church (Rick Warren)

CLASS 101 – Discovering Church Membership
(includes gospel presentation & asks people to join a small group)
CLASS 201 – Discovering Spiritual Maturity
(teaches people to develop spiritual disciplines)
CLASS 301 – Discovering my S.H.A.P.E
(find a place to serve based on their spiritual gifts, heart, ability, personality, experience)
CLASS 401 – Discovering my Life Mission
(equips people live a life of mission)

Northpoint Community Church (Andy Stanley)

FOYER LARGE GROUP ENVIRONMENT WHO:Guests Sunday Service
LIVING ROOM MID-SIZE GROUP ENVIRONMENT WHO:Friends Monthly Event
KITCHEN SMALL GROUP ENVIRONMENT WHO:Family Community Group

Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Tim Keller)

1. Sunday Service
2. Small Group
3. Serve with Others (inside or outside the church)
4. Share the gospel

> ASSESSING FOR FRUIT
Under this model, steps would need to be taken to ensure the following…
1. That all the key leaders are willing to move through this pathway.
2. That there is a process to determine what % of the congregation is at each stage of the journey
3. That the process itself is assessed for its effectiveness when it comes to shifting the disconnected to become connected, and shifting unbelievers to become missionaries.

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