Churches today have many options when it comes to the way they will carry out their individual mission. Every day there is a new model or idea that claims to be a “can’t miss.” Churches may choose to be involved in ministry that deals with addiction recovery such as Celebrate Recovery. Churches can choose to be involved in ministries that speak to the competitive nature of children such as AWANA and Upward. Churches may invest in compassion ministries such as Samaritan’s Purse, Disaster Relief, and Habitat for Humanity who seek the meet the most basic human needs. Churches may sponsor medical ministries such as Doctors Without Borders and Nurses on Mission. Churches may even invest in ministries with very specific goals such as promoting clean drinking water through Blood Water Mission, shoes for children through Soles 4 Souls, defeating human trafficking through Abolition International and End It, and child sponsorship ministries such as Compassion International and Clubhouse Guatemala.
In a room of competing voices, the church must focus. The church must tune out everything that does not support and fulfill its mission and purpose. The church must be good stewards of its resources. There are some areas in which every church is limited. Let’s begin on the other side and look at how the church is not limited. The New Testament church does not lack power. “And I also say to you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The church is empowered for ministry. The New Testament church does not lack purpose. Jesus told His disciples to go and “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). The church is commissioned to minister. The New Testament church does not lack a presence. Again, Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always, event to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b). The church is accompanied in its ministry.
On the human side, all churches are limited by finances, time, and energy. Ministry requires funding – no way around it. Churches rely on the monetary gifts of its membership and must choose how to utilize it best. Time and energy work together. Families juggle multiple calendars daily (family, work, church, etc.) There are a limited number of hours in a day to accomplish what needs to get done. When it comes to ministry opportunities, the decision to invest precious money, time, and energy is one the church must take very seriously. There needs to a central driving force behind the decisions made. This is what author Simon Sinek referred to as, ‘knowing your why.” For example, the driving force behind private business is to make money. The driving force behind schools and universities is to impart knowledge. The driving force behind the military is to ensure the nation’s safety and freedom. Whatever the identified driving force is, an institution/organization commits the limited resources to its fulfillment. Schools and universities do not invest their resources in national defense. The military does not invest its resources in making money. Private businesses do not invest their resources in imparting knowledge. If you miss the why, you miss everything.
For years I have read about the successes and struggles of churches through denominational publications, ministry blogs, and church health books. Two types of ministry models emerged: event-driven ministry and community-driven ministry. Over the course of the net two days I will examine these models and offer my preference. Let’s discuss this.