Musings on Spiritual Matters

by Matthew Morine

Reviewing a Ministry

http://www.mentoringforchange.co.uk/images/purposewheel.gifVery few congregations have door knocking campaigns. If there is a door knocking campaign, it is not done in the fashion of attempting to convert people at the door. It is a little naive to believe that people will completely change the direction of one’s life in a conversation on the door steps. Also, very few congregations are still involved in the bus ministry. Fleets of buses traveled out from the church building to pick out children for Sunday School and Worship. Most congregations today do not practice these methods of evangelism any longer. WHY? Well it must have meant that somebody realized that this approach was not working any longer. Usually though, it takes a while to kill a ministry within a congregation. Some ministries that have lost all effectiveness are still taking valuable manpower and resources to run. A ministry can be “spinning its wheels.” When this is the case, it causes burnout within the servants and stagnation within the congregation. This is why each congregation must take the occasion to review each ministry once a year. In reviewing the ministry, the agenda and goals for the ministry will be looked at. This removes the dynamic of “doing it for the sake of doing it.” When you have to objectively look at the purpose and fruit of the ministry, you are able to have a clearer mindset on the work. Too many congregations are involved in purposeless ministries that are producing no fruit. By reviewing the ministries yearly, a congregation will be practicing that best works that produce the most results.

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About The Author

Matthew is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. He has a beautiful wife named Charity and a precious baby named Gabrielle. He has graduated from the Brown Trail School of Preaching, Heritage Christian University with his Bachelors of Arts in Biblical Studies, Lipscomb University with his Master’s of Arts in Biblical Studies and his Master’s of Divinity at Freed-Hardeman University. He is presently working towards his Doctorate of Ministry at Harding Graduate School of Religion. His articles have appeared in the World Evangelist, the Highway to Holiness, The West Virginia Christian, The Christian Echo, The Firm Foundation, Church Growth, and the Gospel Advocate. He enjoys hockey, golf, boxing, and chess. In his spare time he enjoys reading numerous genres of books. Also, he is working on climbing all of the 14ers in Colorado. Matthew is the Pulpit Minister for the Castle Rock church of Christ.

Comments

6 Responses to “Reviewing a Ministry”

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  1. Matthew says:

    How do you believe the review process should work?

  2. Rex says:

    One of the questions I have is in regards to the traditional Sunday School program. How do we measure the effectiveness of the program? Attendance? While attendance is helpful, I think most church leaders are getting past the point of viewing attendance as a pass or fail mark. Learning? What sort of learning, intellectual, transformational, or both? In my experience it seems there is a great emphasis on learning the content of the Bible but I am interested in understanding how well this has translated into a transformation of the person into Christ likeness.

    I am asking this question because I haved served with two small congregations (50-60 members) and Sunday School is a very taxing ministry to operate from a financial, manpower, and time-wise standpoint. I am really convinced that, taken to assumed goals of that ministry, there is a better way to accomplish the goal (In fact, I am convinced that our program-centered, building-centered way of doing church is rather complex and we only know how to do it because, like English, we have been doing it all of our life).

    So how would you go about evanluating Sunday School programs?

  3. Matthew says:

    First of all, some would think you to be a heretic to even think that the Sunday School program should be changed or dropped. I do not. I think we should always be willing to ask the question. Here is how I might process this. First, what could we be doing instead of the SS program? If nothing, than why stop it. Second, I would look at changing the SS program into a living horse instead of a dead one. Tom Rainer’s book “High Expectations” will help. He advocates the use of the SS program for development within a church. Third, what is the goal? It has to be bigger than numbers, but can it be used to build friendships, develop leaderships, and build faith. If so, keep it going, with some revision. Hope that helps.

  4. Joe Baggett says:

    The new book “The present future” deals with this problem. He bascially concludes that many ministries are nothing more than being busy and are just religious overhead.

  5. Rex says:

    I have read the book “The Present Future” by Reggie McNeil. I have not read “High Expectations” by Thomas Rainer, though I hear a lot of great comments and recommendations regarding his work.
    I definitely have a different model of doing chuch than the current program-centered, building-centered model that dominates (in every sense of that word) most congregations. Being able to communicate it so that others conceptualize the model is one of the challenges. It is enough of a challenge to communicate to those who do invest themselves in the local church and it is even more difficult to communicate it to those who are indifferent to the local church and its mission (I humorously call these people the ‘frozen chozen’, for they do nothing but occupy a place on the pew). I do believe that it would be possible to change the SS program from a dead horse to a living horse, but I do question whether it is worth the effort. Most of my experience is with small congregations (including being raised in a small church) and it just seems like the entire program centered approach is very draining. However, I could be wrong — though certainly not a heretic;-).

    -Rex

  6. Joe Baggett says:

    The power of the gospel is lost by church members who can subscribe to all the various doctrinal positions but have little to no personal story of transformation.

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