SESSION 5: MINISTRY FRAMEWORK – HOW WE DO CHURCH AND MEMBERSHIP (continued)
FROM Session 4: Priorities and practices are what we actually do… what we do first, of most importance, before we do other things. They answer the question of What? we do, and How? we do them… i.e. our basic disciplines and skills that we learn to do and practice on a regular basis – in order to live out our core values, in pursuit of our vision, to fulfill our mission under God.
HOW DO WE FORM (be formed in) COMMUNITY? By prioritizing and practicing the disciplines of…
Family (Relationships): the most elementary reality of Church and society, based in the Trinity. Intimacy with God leads to intimacy – ‘oneness’ or community – with each other (John 17:20-25). We relate by covenant, creating an environment of unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness, in the discipline of family belonging and responsibility. This means building friendships, learning to self-disclose, sharing and caring, and resolving conflict effectively (as in Matt 5:23-24, 18:15-20). The goal is growth and formation to maturity in Jesus Christ. This happens mainly through home groups—the basic expression of church – and via courses and training at various levels in various aspects of life (see HELP below).
Healing: real relationships naturally lead to healing and growth. We believe in healing the whole person by the ministry of God’s Spirit through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We practice healing ministry with compassion as Jesus did, equipping every believer to minister healing by the laying on of hands and the gifts of the Spirit. We’re all ‘wounded healers’—we’re all ‘in process’. We minister healing in Sunday services, in home groups, at work, on the street, in training courses, support groups, etc.
Servant Gifts: relationships bring healing, which leads to healthy and service in the Family. Followers of Jesus are all servants. We must cultivate servant hearts and attitudes. God gives us natural talents and spiritual gifts, by his empowering Spirit, to serve the Family and the world. We help each other discover and exercise our calling and gifts, using them in ‘ministry’ (the Greek word is ‘servanting’). We learn to minister in our spiritual gifts at home groups, at Sunday services, in courses, on ministry trips, etc.
Equipping: serving leads to the need for training to minister more effectively. We seek to equip people to live life (the whole of life), not just in ‘ministry skills’. Training is key to ‘every-believer-ministry’, to leadership development and maturity in life. We equip the willing and the motivated, those already serving, through coaching (‘show and tell’ model of training) and by course work, in home groups, seminars, conferences, translocal ministry, etc. The HELP (below) is key to this equipping process.
HOW DO WE FISH THE WORLD? By prioritizing and practicing the disciplines of…
Vocation & Occupation: there is no divide between the ‘secular’ (work) and the ‘spiritual’ (church) – we live ONE life under God. We equip followers of Jesus to live out their vocation (‘calling’ to advance God’s Kingdom) through their occupation (our daily work – it’s our ministry ‘out there’). Our current job is our calling before God in full-time mission from Mondays to Fridays in the work-place – our place of witness in the world as Christ-followers. How well do you do your job – for Jesus’ sake (Colossians 3:22-23).
Evangelism: is essentially ‘gossiping the gospel’ – the good news of Jesus – making followers of him by initiating people into faith and disciple-community. This is ‘fishing’, or ‘natural evangelism’: winning others by relationship and trust, as a normal lifestyle, beginning at our work-place. Thus evangelism is more than speaking, it’s our lived lives, our integrity, good deeds… including power-encounter!
Social Transformation: evangelism without caring for the whole person is less than the gospel. Social transformation is the socio-political-economic-ecological witness of the gospel, working at three levels…
1) Mercy ministry—symptomatic relief like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked etc.
2) Justice ministry—dealing with the causes of poverty and oppression (political/economic structures).
3) Development ministry—wholistic involvement in various forms of community development work.
World Missions (& Church Planting): we have come full circle – following God intimately leads to close family relationships (healing and growth), empowering us to engage the pain of the world, to love as God loves (real spiritual formation). Jesus gave his followers a world mission: begin where you are, but aim at the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 cf. Mark 16:15 & Matt 29:18-20). Mission(s) is any form of involvement in the world beyond the local church, in name of Jesus, taking many forms… as in social transformation above… but the most effective means of missions is church planting. Being in a church-planting movement, we’re committed to planting churches (training and sending church planters).
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: A) “HELP” FOR SPIRITUAL FORMATION, AND B) A PEOPLE FLOW CHART
We view local church as a family that is a ‘school of life formation’, teaching us to be Jesus to this world. Following Jesus and making followers of him is discipleship… disciplined learning… intentional spiritual formation to maturity in Christlikeness. We have a structured process to HELP us achieve this. HELP is an acronym for Holistic Equipping Life Process. The HELP curriculum has seven core processes/courses, each with six teachings. Therefore, we work to gather and grow (heal up, disciple and train) people over a couple of years, equipping and sending them into the world in Jesus’ name (see People Flow Chart)