Advancing God’s Kingdom is a multifaceted an seemingly overwhelming responsibility at times. We look at what needs to be done and we are staggered with the enormity of “How can I do all of this” You can’t. That’s why you need a fellowship of people who each do a part. And ideally set it up so that their part doesn’t have to go on indefinitely. First, let’s identify three kinds of people in the church.
- People to whom you are ministering.
- People who growing by helping build ministries
- People who are leading ministries.
Basically, these are the only kinds of people I think there are. People who are just attending and giving really fit in category 1. They need to be awakened and set into a role.
That leads into some obvious questions about the role of the Sunday morning meeting. Our team has discussed this a little bit, and we’re looking at it differently. First we are in the camp that says it is an evangelistic meeting, rather than a church meeting. If you have facility problems, split the church, you’ve done so already. Secondly, we are firmly against having multiple services. It divides your forces, and drains your ministry team. We are looking at the meeting more like fishing. Basically it needs to be set up to “go fishing” for people around a certain topic. Worship, preach to a decision point, and then, here is our innovation — have a “harvest” after the service. Churches have altar time, but we’re suggesting a step farther. A response group. Before the service, figure out who you are fishing for, then figure out who are the best people to catch those kinds of people. Who will give the best message? Who will perform the immediate ministry? Who can help in medium to long term? Plan out your service based on the response you expect to get, instead of what you want to say! This also helps solve the perennial “announcements” problem. Your service becomes an announcement. Instead of urging people to join something, and then preaching about something else, preach for the harvest, and then have it lead into the logical next step ministry.
OK, now this is the next step, how is the church structured? The traditional “Life groups” or “Cell groups” are too often done like an add on to the church and they have no definitive purpose. I propose the “Action Team” as the orienting concept for the church. This connects activity in the churchto the relationships, instead of the two existing in separate spheres, which is unnatural. Everything you do in the church is a kind of “Action Team” Someone in category 3 is leading it, people in category 2 are helping with it, and people in category 1 are receiving from it. Each one is about advancing God’s Kingdom in some way. People in category 1/2 can freely move in and out of them without lots of formality and commitment around joining. Basically it’s a place where you can make a difference. Your category 3 people need to be empowered, under the authority of the pastor or board to own it and drive it. Here’s the revelation: the more owners you have the more momentum you have. Each leader is a franchise owner in a sense. They have a responsibility and the backing of the church, and they basically are responsible for keeping momentum, tapping people to help with different responsibilities, getting resources, etc. The expectation is not just that the people come to the leader, but that leader comes to the people. He or she finds the people that they need, or needs to minister to and tries to fit them in. The general orientation of the leaders of these groups is to work themselves out of a job by raising up the people on the team, or to spawn off other groups, as appropriate. Remember though, these are not Kum Ba Yah groups. They are doing something for God.
Another thing I’m going to propose is that the Action Team is not a meeting time, it’s a team. It’s a set of relationships pushing for a goal. You don’t “go to” a team. You play on it. I’m not saying that people don’t meet, but I’m saying that basically the leader moves it forward, and he or she pulls other people in as needed. When you become a part, you expect to relate to the leader, do stuff at random times, etc. Another great thing about this concept is that you can have people logically play on multiple teams, even leaders can play on the team of another leader. Because different teams are doing all kinds of different things at different times it looks like chaos, but it’s not, because the leaders are empowered to do things, and each is trusted to push their own ball forward. They report results to the board (including if they are board members) and that becomes the point where any needed collaboration occurs.
Another thing about the team is that it involves training. It’s work, it’s fellowship, but it’s also an education. Every leader should train his or her leaders on an ongoing basis, also inviting other leaders of the church to train and activate the people. Here are some example action teams:
- Deliverance and Inner Healing Team.
- Street witnessing team.
- Administration team.
- Worldview ministry team.
- Campus ministry team.
One of the hidden hindering dynamics we talked about in the previous post was that normally you have paid people trying to lead unpaid people. This can be quite difficult. From a dynamics perspective, I think unpaid people leading unpaid people works best. All are working with equal motivation and time constraints. Then it’s not about someone trying to “get people to do something” it’s more about a bunch of people doing something together behind the initiative of a leader. The understanding for everyone is that if their work begins to lead in a direction where they need financial resources including salary, the church will back them up.