In all the years we have been in ministry we have seen a fair share of chaos and utter destruction going on in churches. I believe the best way to figure out how not to make the same mistakes is to study their failure. When I correct my children’s math papers and find one with the wrong answer, I carefully look over their hand written work to find the error. The error in the ‘answer’ column is not the real dilemma. In research like this we can observe what works and what doesn’t work, but ultimately the goal is to find out what the patterned mistakes are and then correct the problem from the foundation up.
There are some popular ways of structuring a ministry organization. Some work and some don’t. Sometimes various churches will follow a model of church structure that appears to be solid, but theirs falls apart and they’re left standing in confusion at why it’s falling apart.
When a ministry begins to falter, the knee jerk reaction of many leaders is to
- exert more control over their project
- and over the people
They go through great lengths to drive home how much their volunteering and financial giving is needed for them to stay afloat. This might seem right, but in the end they’re putting people in bondage.
One of the first things a ministry’s leader needs to stay focused on is the people. As exciting as having their own building sounds, it should never outweigh the importance of the people. It is never wise to put your faith and hope in any vision that puts the people in bondage, even if you think the end result is for their own good. Remember how that worked out for Joseph in Egypt and God’s people remained under intense slavery for 400 years waiting for deliverance.
Beginning any organization must be done decently and in order, providing a concrete foundation and immovable infrastructure. I’m not a business guru by any means, but I can tell you from the various examples I see in church world that we’re making huge mistakes, repeatedly, and causing further damage to God’s people.
“We will continually search for new and culturally relevant ways to present Christ’s message while remaining true to Scripture. We will discontinue activities and ministries that have lost relevance and effectiveness.”
The people who gather together are far more important than a building program that hinders the people from living a life of happiness and joy in the Lord. Jesus already established his Church and expressed his love through death and resurrection. He doesn’t ask us to build another temple and die financially to do it. We, the people, are the temple of God and he indwells every one of us.
There are other, more effective, ways in which to teach globally that cost much less.
A group of people can network YouTube videos and podcasts through various social networking sites for free. When they want to gather together, then can gather at a park or restaurant. They can even rent a large banquet hall from time to time to gather in more people from all over the region for worship and fellowship.
Another aspect of ministry business that tends to get sticky is when the spiritual leader is also the CEO. An organization might have to start out that way, but I advise against it staying that way. You can seek out an individual who agrees with the vision of the group who is an organizer for marketing (evangelizing) the materials created by the group to help others. I believe we need to allow the spiritual leader to focus on the spiritual growth of the people and let someone else focus on the financial growth. The Body of people is not to remain in a quadriplegic state letting the pastor do all the work. We should be fostering team work where every member functions in their strongest gifts.
- The pastor is not the Head of the Church, Jesus is.
- The Church was already established, by Jesus.
- The Temple was rebuilt by Christ, it’s us The People.
I want to refrain from writing out an infrastructure model, because I think each group has something unique for their communities and they should be encouraged to follow the Spirit’s leading for their ministries.
My heart in this is to encourage all leaders to consider these thoughts and keep the people’s safety and spiritual well being a primary focus in ministry.
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