Has the life been sucked out of Church?
How do ministries make decisions?
As a bit of an aside – though a relevant one – here’s a way that we can use what we’ve learned about form and function when evaluating how a ministry is performing. First, we look at the form of the ministry, perhaps it is a media ministry, delivering content over the web. We then look at the stated purpose of the ministry, which will be its mission statement. Finally, we compare this with its actual function. Is it fulfilling its stated function?
How do we find out? We do so by looking at evidences, signals that tell us how it is doing. For instance, if its mission statement is partly to reach the lost, then how much of its content is for this purpose? How many testimonies does it receive from people who have been saved? Does it receive complaints? Perhaps it sends out too many letters/emails for financial support? If so, does this square up with any of its ministry statements about how the ministry is to be resourced? Finally, we use our findings to make sure that the ministry is on track with its mission statement, because, let’s face it, this is its raison d’etre, its sole purpose for existing.
How do ministries make decisions? If it is not through prayer and re-alignment with God’s Priorities and Plans, then it is not a ministry any more, it has just become a business and has switched kingdoms. This of course may be God’s plan anyway, but it would be a good idea if this is perceived and then acknowledged by the management, so that everyone can be clear as to the objectives of the business. That will surely help any new recruits who believe they are joining a ministry in the truest sense and not a business that has a different objective than what is expected. And, as for that “bottom line”, surely all ministries should simply hold on to Jesus’ words.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
There’s a time in your life when you are more apt to worry. This is when you’ve reached “retirement” age and the workplace rejects you as you’ve just past your “sell-by date” and are not operating as efficiently as you once did. So off you go with your gold watch, state pension and a guide to gardening, to enjoy your twilight years, to rest your weary bones, to fade away and die.
No, no, no! Some of the most alive people I know are pensioners and I have seen many ministries birthed by those finally free from “the system”. The Church, which unfortunately doesn’t always value age and experience, needs to recognise this fact. Unfortunately many “movers & shakers” in the institutional Church (particularly in the media) have bought into the World’s view of putting “bright young things” onto platforms, and pandering to youth culture. Instead they should be following the biblical models of such people as Noah, Abraham, Moses and Samuel and realise that the body and the mind may deteriorate because of chemical forces, but the Spirit remains intact and, if well fed, grows stronger with age. The same for Wisdom. We need to cherish, encourage and utilise the old people in our Churches. There is no such thing as retirement in God’s Kingdom!
Finally, just a short advert for our Foundations conferences, which will have run to sixteen by the time you read this. One of our main purposes is to help our brothers and sisters to discover their gifts and talents and to use them. Most of our main contributors are all “getting on a bit” and that worries us not a jot! At our last conference we had our very own choir, music group and dancing troupe by the end of the week, made up of people that have never sung together, played together or danced together before and, in most cases, haven’t even met each other before! To adapt a phrase from the communists, “Christians of the world unite! …. Because that’s what you’re meant to do”
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp