Thursday, July 11, 2013

Three Categories of Ministry

J.D. Greear spoke in a workshop at the 2013 Gospel Coalition Conference about creating a sending culture in the church. He has a great message to share, and even though I don't agree with every last thing he says, I truly appreciate the heart behind the message.

Starting near the beginning of minute 35, he makes a great observation about the ways a church can interact with various ministries. Here is my attempt at a transcription, with apologies to legitimate mustard wielding hot dog donors:
We have to empower our people to be leaders. We've got to empower people as leaders. As church leaders, we've got to take a servant role toward our people. Listen to this, if John 14:12 is true, we understand that the best ministry ideas are in the congregation. Do you believe that? The best ministry ideas are in the congregation, not in the offices of the church. And we have to dedicate our ourselves to serving our people--developing them. Most of us as church leaders are more naturally inclined to recruit volunteers for our ideas. But there's a big difference in recruiting volunteers and training leaders. We want volunteers to be cogs in our machine. But rather than just thinking of how to get them on to our teams, we need to think about  how we become a part of theirs. To serve them, for these 39 out of 40 miracles [that were recorded in Acts as happening outside the church].
We've developed as a church staff--let me tell you how we put this into practice--we developed three categories of ministry. We call it own, catalyze, and bless. 'Own' are ministries that we think up in the church office. We're responsible for them. We fund them. We recruit for them. That's one category. On the other end of the spectrum is 'bless'. That's the person that comes up to you after the service that's like, "Hey, I've got a great idea. I want to give out hot dogs at the fair and I want to write in mustard 'John 3:16' on them." And you're like, "That sounds great. Let's have a word of prayer. Come back to me and tell me how that worked out." Alright, so that's on the other end--'bless'. In the middle is this category that I don't think we're really that good at, that we've got to get good at--'catalyze'. And the reason we're not good at it is 'cause it's scary. It's where I don't want to 'own' it--I'm not going to take it from you--you're still the leader in it, but I'm going to bring the resources and the authority of the church and all that stuff behind you to let you lead it. I never want to lead; I want you to lead it. And we're going to catalyze your ministry by doing some things that we can do infrastructure-and-funding-wise, but we're not taking it away from you.
So here's the question for you to consider. How much is that happening in your church?

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