What is my Ministry Philosophy?
- Equipping the people to do ministry:
Too many churches view staff as the ones “paid to do ministry.” The result is lazy and immature Christians. Another result is spectators looking to be entertained on a Sunday morning rather than looking for an opportunity to worship God and grow closer to Him. My job, along with the staff, and along with other mature leaders, is to train, equip, and motivate people to accomplish God’s will in their lives. This will includes living a mature life that honors and glorifies God, it includes living out and sharing their faith and it includes two of the primary things the early church concentrated on: meeting physical needs and meeting spiritual needs. People of the kingdom will seek opportunities to serve each other and the community (and we as leaders can help find those opportunities) and will seek opportunities to spread the Gospel (and we can help with that, too - in the community and through short-term missions).
- Working as a team with the staff and elders:
While I recognize the senior minister’s role of guiding the leaders in developing a vision and direction for the church and being a primary spokesman for that vision, the concept so many churches have of the preacher being “THE pastor” is neither Biblical nor practical. In working with any other staff members, I need to be able to communicate the overall vision and allow them (since they are the experts in their areas of ministry, and I am not) to implement the vision. I need to provide support as needed, and I need to be asking them what is happening in their areas – not in the traditional workplace supervisor role, but as a mutual accountability and communication tool. I also need their input in my realm of preaching and teaching because all parts are overlapping (Paul did say we are “knit together”). Regarding the elders and other church leaders– some of the traditional views of churches are also not Biblical. The concept of elders as the “bosses” and the staff as “hirelings” doesn’t work. The elders as “lay people with no expertise” and the staff as “paid professionals” doesn’t work. We are a team of fellow shepherds, seeking to guide the flock in God’s will, seeking to provide the pastoral care needed, and seeking to grow and mature the flock into productive members of the kingdom. That takes all of us working together.
- Teach the Word, and apply the Word:
This describes my preaching philosophy. I’ve seen too many churches get wrapped up in canned programs and end up not getting deeper into the Word and how to apply it. Some of those programs can be useful tools that can help in learning and applying the Word. But many tend to take on a life of their own, and overshadow the message. I’ve also seen too many churches get enamored with the personality of a preacher (who acts more like a showman than a messenger form God) and miss the message the preacher should be delivering. As I craft a sermon, I seek to do three things: define the meaning, give examples to help illustrate, and discuss applications. This does not mean that I seek to have people figure out “what this means to me,” but to figure out what it means, and then figure out what the implications are for their lives, now that they have heard God’s Word. My teaching and preaching should have a result of changed lives.