by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, PhD

For the past few years I have been praying and dreaming about what a healthy church ministry would look like. At this moment, as I am between ministries and looking ahead in anticipation of the next five to ten years of ministry, I find there are eight focal points to a healthy ministry for God.  While these areas are not exhaustive, they seem to me to be central to the work God has prepared me to do. As you review these points, I know they will resonate among the hearts of  men and women who desire to do a great ministry for God.

A healthy ministry views …

  • Effective Prayer as central – Creating / developing / enhancing corporate, small group and individual prayer is central to seeing with God’s eyes and feeling with God’s heart so we can be ‘on mission’ and following God’s will for our lives as a church.
  • Passionate Worship as intentional – Magnifying God’s name and bringing the whole of our worship time to bear on ‘the Big Idea’ of the day becomes central to our weekend worship efforts. This includes long-range planning so as to include and develop maximum involvement of our church family in our worship times to bring glory to God.
  • Joyful Fellowship and Followership opportunities as vital – Creating unity breeds joy and pleasure, strength and higher morale when men, women and teens are afforded planned and intentional settings where they can mix and mingle, reflect and regroup, hope and hear from one another and God through camping, retreats and opportunities that allow us to rub shoulders with one another as well as work and play together as the family of God.
  • Enhancing Spiritual growth as critical – Building opportunities for the men, women and teens of our fellowship to grow in their spiritual aptitudes and appetites, interests and inquiries through courses, trips and situations where they are able to ‘work out’ their faith for the very real world we encounter every day.
  • Reproducing Discipleship as key – Training men, women and teens to become reproducing followers of Christ, able to understand and know what following Jesus is all about, as well as sharing the care and compassion of Jesus with others so that they too are won to his leadership and love. Such training seeks to develop these men, women and teens so that once they have lead their friends to Christ, they can disciple them in the faith.
  • Developing Leadership as essential – Scheduling and developing regular times of formal leadership training, taking men, women and teens on appropriate ministry and leadership development seminars, conferences and activities are viewed as non-optional, all the while understanding that Biblical leadership development is the process of servant leadership.
  • Enthusiastic Outreach and Assimilation as the heartbeat of ministry – Seeking to fulfill the Great Commission is one of the greatest opportunities in this life by finding creative and relational ways to bring our people in contact with those who have yet to open their hearts and heads to the love and leadership of Jesus Christ.
  • Pastoral Encouragement ministry as important – Drawing a team of men, women and teens around the pastors to pray and encourage, support and serve so that the hearts of the pastors are encouraged – this allows them to lead us to meet the challenges and callings God has for our people as a whole, thus lifting the whole church to the next level.

As you read my list I am sure there are other things that come to mind. Perhaps your pulse increased as you reviewed this list. I know that every time I reread and refine this list – I first wrote it months ago – fresh hope and excitement fill me. I have turned these into prayer points for my next ministry. As I contemplate where God wants to place me next, I look to this list and (a) see if I see signs of these things present, or (b) ask about a willingness to walk down these paths with the churches I talk to. If you know of such a ministry looking for a senior pastor with this type of heart, feel free to email me or leave me a comment below.