Knowing where you’re going is more important than going. If there is no specific goal or place where one is headed, it really doesn’t matter if you are going anywhere or doing anything. Motion without direction is delusion. As we seek to bring life to our ministry, being on the same page is vital. Two questions will guide the direction of your ministry …
Questions to ask before you set out …
- Do we attend church or do we become the church? At the core of this question is the issue of what kind of people will make up our ministry. Churches die because Christianity has become a spectator sport. Are we creating people who are vital to expanding the mission and transformation of our community? Or, do we treat people like spectators and have them come to this week’s spiritual worship show? Healthy, growing churches believe that “without you, there is no us.” Trusting people with the work of the ministry vs. entertaining them and exhausting ourselves in the process is what this question is all about.
- Does the leadership approve or does it empower? In asking this question we are determining whether people have to get permission every time they want to do something for God or do we give them authority in advance to do the ministry without someone’s ok? Do we train people in discipleship and leadership so that they can run with the dreams God places in their hearts? If this is our method, then once we place you in ministry, we are saying, “We trust you! How can we help you accomplish your God-given goal?” One of our 82-year-old men got this right away and started a badge ministry so the new pastor (me) could identify everyone. Within weeks, old timers were saying, “I love these badges. I couldn’t remember that person’s name.” Even in a small, dying church, people can be empowered to build life-giving connections.
Like the North Star, these two questions provide us with the insight we need to guide our church toward God’s will and direction. Leaders need to ask these questions before they launch into any new work for God.
In our next article we will continue exploring issues in the area of our philosophy of ministry.
Adapted from Dr. Smith’s new book in process, “The Tantrum-Driven Church.”