Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Week in Review

The Life of a Healthy Church (part 4)

The teaching must first teach the importance of the mission, which is to find the lost. The mission is not our programs and services, while they may be wonderful, they are only vehicles to which we try to reach out to the world around us. This is important so that individuals will not be confused and believe the mission is only about our programs running smoothly. What is most important is, are you in the place God has chosen for you to be in? He requires you to do within the church, but your gifts are also to be used in outreach to the lost. The importance of the mission must be taught before one can even speak about gifts. Scripture says, “for we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:3-9).

The classes or training can be broken up for teens, adults and children for example so that each group is able to understand from their level of learning. This is imperative based on scripture that states, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant…Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-6). Along with a test (available for purchase or free from many sources) on what is your spiritual gift, the ground work must first be set so that individuals understand this is of great responsibility to functioning within their area of giftedness. The teaching should cover what the gifts are for, which goes back to the understanding of the mission, to help build up the body as well as to reach the lost. The teaching should also cover why use the gifts. Romans states why we willingly become laborers with God “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service…For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;” (Romans 12:1, 4-6).

Once believers learn what their gifts are, the training cannot stop there. They must also be taught how to utilize the gifts within the church and the church outreach programs. One suggestion I had concerned the youth department. I call it the “Junior Leaders”. This program would be for teens from the ages of 13-18. They would first go through some teaching as I suggested above, purpose of the church (God’s mission), which I am calling the “Instruction Phase”. They would then be taught how and why God equips the church (individuals). He does this so that we can become labors with him in fulfilling his mission. The teaching would then teach about the gifts, first introducing that fact that there is no small gift or big gift and God gives them as he chooses. The gifts are not for selfish purposes, but all to bring us together as one body working for the glory of the Lord. I have seen some giftedness test adapted for teens, so this would be administered to help them learn about their gifts.

I would then have all the church groups/auxiliaries come before the teens to tell them what they do and why. After these presentations, we would ask each teen, what they were interesting in. Sometimes the thing you find interesting is also the area where your gifts lay. Based on their giftedness, they would be matched with an auxiliary leader as a mentor (at least 2 at a time). They would spend 3-6 months within this auxiliary to help as an active member (not just a pair of young legs) and this is called the “Implementation Phase”. After the Implementation Phase, the teen would be responsible for presenting some ideas they have that could help the auxiliary they were working with. They would be responsible for telling what things they thought worked well within the group. They would also have to give what they thought could be done differently and why (a hard one, but needed). This would be presented back to the leaders that taught the class. This phase is called “Reconstruction Phase”. Once they make their presentations to the leader that taught the classes, the leaders would help them write up the proposal to be presented to the leader of the auxiliary group.

The presentation has to be approved to go forward by the leader of the class and it is presented to the group it was designed for. If the group accepts any of the changes, the teens that made the proposal would then help in implementing the changes. One of the challenges for the church is within the areas of new converts. Many new believers become despondent when they are faced with difficulties and find it difficult to worship. It is the responsibility of the body to teach how to face trials and what recourses one can take to continue to walk through the trials. If individuals feel their well-being is important to the church, this may enhance their time of worship. This will also make them more willing to tell others about the church they attend, because they are receiving the things that they need. Rainer states, “Bob Russell says further about excellence: ‘Mediocrity breads indifference, but quality attracts…Imagine how much easier evangelism would be if your church services were done with so much excellence that they inspired people to the extent that they couldn’t help but tell their friends about their experience’…‘But why have our people been so bold in inviting their friends and so effective in getting them to come?’ he asks rhetorically, ‘Because they are excited about what they’ve experienced and are confident that every week the grounds, the nursery, the greeting, the singing, and the preaching will be done with excellence.’” (94). Rainer reminds us that if believers are excited about the place they worship, they are excited about telling others (come back for the next installment).

The Week in Review

The Role of the Pastor in Church Administration (Final Installment)
Written by Minister Jewel D. Williams
October 11, 2007

I believe we need more extensive training for new converts. Scripture tells us to make “disciples” not “converts”. We get people into the church, but we often leave them right there. Many new converts do not come to Sunday school, simply because they do not understand the importance of it. If there was a class during the week that was dedicated to discipleship training I believe it would be very useful in helping some individuals move from being saved to living holy. I believe it is effective have a new members (convert) class during the Sunday school time. I also believe we need to always re-evaluate what we do, our ministries. Churches have many auxiliaries but have they taken the time to see if they are relevant for today? While many may still be relevant, we need to evaluate them as a whole to eliminate redundancy. For a pastor to suggest elimination of an auxiliary may be met with disapproval, however the ultimate goal is to administer most effectively in what we do. In many churches, members are holding positions in several groups. Elimination of the time constraints would help individuals work more effectively. I also believe we need to look at what ministries we do not have currently but are needed for our areas.

Ministry is often done for the “house”, but we need to look to the community we are in and see how we can reach outside the doors to those that are looking for that something different that should be found in the church. Whatever the pastor does, it should all be done with the goal of the church being the best we can for God. I end this with a sentiment from Galloway, “Billy Graham had no interest in wowing me with his preaching skills. He really did not care if I thought he was a good preacher or not. In fact, he probably prayed that I would give up on his oratorical skills…You see the point. Billy Graham has become one of the most significant preachers of the twentieth century because he has had no interest in being one of the most significant preachers of the twentieth century. He has just wanted to be a faithful servant of his Lord…We forget that we have been called not to be the best or the brightest, but to be a fool for Christ” (pp. 167-168). We are not competing to be the best in regards to other churches, but we should all be seeking to be faithful servants of God and that will show the world our significance for this time and era. We have been called for a time such as this and we must with prayer seek God to show us how to be the church. When that is done, pastors will be successful where they are called to lead and the congregations will flourish because we have allowed “the church to be the church”.

Work Cited

McArthur, John. et. al. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005.

Galloway, Jr. John. Ministry Loves Company. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003.

Lindgren, Alvin J. Foundations for Purposeful Church Administration. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1965.

Regele, Mark and Schulz, Mark. Death of the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.

Thompson, Frank Charles, D.D., PH.D. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 5th ed. Indianapolis, IN: B. B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., Inc., 1988.

Toombs, Michael. The Role of the Pastor in Church Administration: Lecture, Week One. 10, September 2007.

Van Rheenen, Gailyn. Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.