There’s nothing that disappoints me more than hearing a church is following the newest trend in ministry. It’s like assuming everyone can wear a one-size-fits-all shoe. The wrong fit minimally causes discomfort, possibly severe pain and in the long run deformity. A church is an organism and it’s continued health and growth is not just about matching people to ministry job descriptions, but more about fitting genetically suitable individuals into leadership at a church body. One size does not fit all. One method doesn’t work in every church. Fitting is something that the Holy Spirit does, and as He begins to lead pastors to set key people into place, the ministry continues to be formed as others are taught and discipled to carry forward that same DNA. You will never discover what your church was meant to be if you are set on cloning someone else’s, or even worse taking on pieces of different churches. The end result is Frankenstein.
At my church (Hope Center) we are growing in different locations. We all have certain things in common, but other characteristics of the individual churches are defined by the demographics, the pastor’s strengths and personality, and ultimately God’s Spirit led plan for that city. This is new for us. However, the bible is clear on this topic. God purposed churches for cities, and congregations and leaders need to meet the soul needs of each particular city. You probably guessed it, based on all the reasons I just listed that my husband, our lead pastor, is not on screen every Sunday in each location. This is how we believe God instructed us to do this, you may be doing something different.
When we first began our journey, we set out to be what we thought a local church should be, our hearts burning with a desire to see people saved. Church has a universal biblical definition and at our church we express this in the words of one our mentors Howard Morgan: Save the lost, heal the saved, train the healed and send the trained. I think we all get this. Most local churches have stereotyped components; Sunday service, mid-week service, small groups, a worship team, a lead pastor and pastoral team who preach and teach. And of course let’s not forget whatever lighting and sound equipment you can best afford.
The real question leadership should be asking is, “Why is my church here?” We had to ask ourselves this question. We are first and foremost, dedicated to producing authentically biblical disciples of Jesus Christ, most of whom in some way will impact the world around them with the Gospel. Everything we do is just a means to that end. We are defined by generational discipleship, mercy ministries and the arts. That’s who we are.
Most people want to know how we do the arts stuff. How did it happen? I will definitely be writing about that. I think it has its place. But my real burden, especially during the times we live in now, is how do we express the truth to a generation that is lost, not just in the world outside the church, but even within the church. Every church needs to find a way to do this. Not entertainment-impact! So we are finding our own way, with our own tools, to reach the lost. Each church is not the same. It’s time for us to start assembling our own custom toolboxes and using the unique things that God has given us to use. Pray first. Discover who God meant for you to be. Don’t be a Frankenstein.