Organizing Around Your Purposes
The 2 most influential preachers of the 18th century were George Whitefield and John Wesley. They were contemporaries, and God used both in a great way; however, they differed in theology, personality, and how they organized their ministries.
Whitefield preached over 18,000 sermons, averaging 10 per week. He once spoke to a crowd of near 100,000 near Glasgow, Scotland, and his preaching tours in America stimulated the revival known as the Great Awakening. However, he left his converts without any organization, so many of the results were temporary. Most of you might not have even recognized his name.
John Wesley’s name is still recognized by millions of Christians. Why? Wesley was an itinerant preacher like Whitefield, engaging in large outdoor evangelistic meetings. However, Wesley was an organizer. He created an organizational structure to fulfill his purpose that far outlasted his lifetime. It’s called the Methodist Church.
For any renewal to last, there must be a structure to nurture and support it. It’s not enough to merely define a purpose statement and communicate it; you must also organize around your church, and around your purposes.
Most evangelical churches already do the 5 purposes of the church – sort of. But they don’t do them all equally well.
Five Kinds of Churches:
The Soul Winning Church: If the pastor sees his primary role as an evangelist, then the church becomes a “soul winning” church. Since this church’s main goal is to see souls saved it’s always reaching out to the lost. The terms you’re likely to hear most often in this church are witnessing, evangelism, salvation, decisions for Christ, baptisms, visitation, altar calls, and crusades. In a soul winning church anything other than evangelism is relegated to a secondary role.
The Experiencing God Church: If the pastor’s passion and gifts lie in the area of worship, he will instinctively lead the church to become an “experiencing God” church. The focus of this church is on experiencing the presence and power of God in worship. Key terms for this church are praise, prayer, worship, music, spiritual gifts, spirit, power, and revival. In this type of church, the worship service receives more attention than anything else.
The Family Reunion Church: If the pastor is highly relational, loves people, and spends most of his time caring for members, then he’s likely to instinctively form this type of church. Key terms are love, belonging, fellowship, caring, relationships, potlucks, small groups, and fun. In the family reunion church the gathering is more important than the goals. This type of church usually doesn’t get very large because the pastor can only care for so many people.
The Classroom Church: If the pastor sees his primary role as being a teacher. If teaching is his primary gift, he will emphasize preaching and teaching and de-emphasize the other tasks of the church. The pastor serves as the expert instructor, and members come to church with notebooks, take notes, and go home. Key words for this church are expository preaching, Bible study, Greek and Hebrew, doctrine, knowledge, truth, and discipleship. It isn’t unusual for this type of church to have the word “Bible” in its name.
The Social Conscience Church: If the pastor of this church sees his role as prophet and reformer. This kind of church is out to change society. It is full of activists who are “doers of the Word,” and comes in both a liberal and a conservative version. The liberal version tends to focus on the injustice of society, while the conservative version tends to focus on the moral decline in our society. Both the liberal and the conservative versions feel the church should be a major player in the political process, and its members are always involved in some current crusade or cause. Important terms are needs, serve, share, minister, take a stand, and do something.
Five Major Parachurch Movements:
The Lay Renewal Movement: This movement refocused the church on the ministry of all Christians.
Organizations such as: Faith at Work, Laity Lodge
The Discipleship/Spiritual Foundations Movement: This movement reemphasized the need to develop believers to full maturity.
Organizations such as: Navigators, Worldwide Discipleship, and Campus Crusade for Christ
The Worship/Renewal Movement: This movement took on the task of refocusing the church on the importance of worship.
Organizations such as: Maranatha! Music and Hosanna/Integrity
The Church Growth Movement: This movement refocused the church on evangelism, missions, and corporate growth.
The Small Group/Pastoral Care Movement: This movement brought new focus to the church on fellowship and caring relationships within the body.
Organizations such as: the Korean cell-church model, Touch Ministries, Serendipity, Care Givers, and Stephen’s Ministry
Each movement was furthered through the books written by some of its advocates.
Keeping Your Church Balanced:
Movements, by nature, specialize in order to have an impact. There’s nothing wrong with specializing. When you need a surgery you want a doctor who specializes in that surgery. But in order for your body to be healthy throughout you need to be balanced in all aspects of health.
In the same way, a balanced church will be a healthy church.
One seminar claims that small groups are the way to church health and growth.
Another claims that seeker services are the way to go.
Another said Sunday school is the answer.
Still another claimed one-on-one discipleship was the answer.
Then another claimed expository preaching was the secret.
There is no one key to church health and growth; there are many keys. The church isn’t called to do one thing; it’s called to do many things. Pastor Warren tells his staff that the 9th Beatitude is “Blessed are the balance; for they shall outlast everyone else.”
1 Corinthians 12:14-21) For the body is not one member, but many.
15) If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16) And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17) If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?
18) But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19) And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?
20) But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.
21) And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
NOTE: The body needs many parts because it has many things to do.
The Circles of Commitment:
The Community: This community is your starting point. It’s the pool of lost people who live within driving distance of our church who have made no commitment to Christ, or to our church. They are the unchurched that we want to meet. Community is where the purpose of evangelism takes place. It’s the largest circle because it contains the most people.
The Crowd: The crowd includes everyone who shows up on Sundays for our service. These are our regular attenders. The crowd can be made up of both believers and unbelievers. The only common denominator is that they are committed to attending a worship service every week. When someone moves from the community to the crowd we’ve made progress in his/her life.
Though an unbeliever can’t truly worship he/she can watch others worship. Worship can be a powerful witness when it’s done in a way the unbelievers can understand it.
The Congregation: The congregation is the group of official members of our church. They have been baptized and have made a commitment to be a part of our church family. They are now more than just attenders; they are committed to the purpose of fellowship. This is a critical commitment. The Christian life is not just a matter of believing; it includes belonging. Once people have made a commitment to Christ they need to be encouraged to take the next step and commit themselves to Christ’s body, the church. At Sattleback, only those who have received Christ, been baptized, taken our membership class (Class 101: Discovering Sattleback Membership), and signed the membership covenant are considered a part of the congregation (membership).
The Committed: The committed are that group of people in our church who pray, give, and are dedicated to growing in discipleship. They are good people who have not yet gotten involved in ministry. At Sattleback, they consider those who have taken Class 201 (Discovering Spiritual Maturity), and have signed a maturity covenant card to be in this group. Their maturity covenant card includes 3 spiritual habits: (1) having a daily quiet time, (2) tithing, and (3) being active in a small group. They consider those 3 habits essential for spiritual growth.
The Core: The core is the smallest group because it represents the deepest level of commitment. These are the dedicated minority of workers and leaders, those who are committed to ministering to others. These are people who lead and serve in the various ministries of the church as Sunday school teachers, deacons, musicians, youth sponsors, and so forth. Without the core a church would come to a standstill. They form the heart of the church. At Sattleback, they have a very intentional process for helping people find their best ministry niche. It includes taking Class 301 (Discovering My Ministry), filling out a SHAPE profile, having a personal ministry interview, being commissioned as a lay minister in the church, and attending a core-only monthly training meeting.
What happens when people finally get to the core? They are moved back out into the community for ministry.
Jesus Recognized Different Levels of Commitment:
Mark 12:30-34) [GNB] Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
31) The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.”
32) The teacher of the Law said to Jesus, “Well done, Teacher! It is true, as you say, that only the Lord is God and that there is no other god but he.
33) And you must love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength; and you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. It is more important to obey these two commandments than to offer on the altar animals and other sacrifices to God.”
34) Jesus noticed how wise his answer was, and so he told him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” After this nobody dared to ask Jesus any more questions.
This man wasn’t in the Kingdom of God, but he was close.
Jesus’ ministry included ministering to the Community, feeding the Crowd, gathering a Congregation, challenging the Committed, and discipling the Core. All 5 tasks are evident in the gospels. Jesus began at the level of commitment of each person He met. Often He would simply capture their interest and create a desire to know more. Then, as people followed Him, Jesus would slowly, gently define more clearly the kingdom of God and ask for a deeper commitment to it.
At the first encounter with John and Andrew He simply said, “Come and see!”
John 1:38-40) [GNB] Jesus turned, saw them following him, and asked, “What are you looking for?” They answered, “Where do you live, Rabbi?” (This word means “Teacher.”)
39) “Come and see,” he answered. (It was then about four o’clock in the afternoon.) So they went with him and saw where he lived, and spent the rest of that day with him.
40) One of them was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
Jesus didn’t require much of the early follower; He just invited them to come and check Him out.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church