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Philosophy of Ministry

A philosophy of ministry is a purpose statement for life and ministry.

The ultimate objective for any believer in any situation is to glorify God, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Cor. 10:31, see also John 14:12-13, 15:8; Rom. 15:5-9; 1 Cor. 6:20; Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Pet. 4:11 & 16; Rev. 4:11.

The following is a summary of how I believe we can best glorify God in our different kinds of relationships, which are our relationships with God, with other believers and with non-believers.  After this summary is a list of what I believe a church can look like if it does glorify God.

LIFE IN RELATION TO GOD

Our primary purpose is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to show that love through worshiping Him in Spirit and truth.  If we do this we will be glorifying Him and experiencing our vital relationship with Him and fulfilling our duties to Him, to the church and to the lost.  Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31; John 4:21-24, 1 Cor. 13

LIFE IN RELATION TO OTHER PEOPLE

In relation to other people, both Christians and non-Christians, our primary duty is to love them as we love ourselves.  We accomplish this by working to present Christians mature in Christ and by proclaiming and living the gospel to non-Christians.  Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31; Coll. 1:28

LIFE IN RELATION TO CHRISTIANS

We help present believers mature in Christ by building them up and encouraging them and helping heal them according to the truth of God, the Bible.  This happens through the exercise of our spiritual gifts, loving relationships, preaching, teaching, discipleship, counseling, helping with needs, strengthening weaknesses, bearing burdens and with genuine friendship and fellowship.  Rom. 12:1-8, 16:25; 1 Cor. 12:7; Gal. 6:1-10; Eph. 4:7-16; Coll. 1:24-29; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; 1 Jn. 3:17

LIFE IN RELATION TO NON-CHRISTIANS

We minister to non-Christians through proclaiming and living the gospel to them.  Our proclamation and living of the gospel may be accompanied by meeting needs as well, but the gospel must be primary in our ministry to them.  God must work in their lives to save and conform them to Christ and He does this through the power of the gospel.  Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 6:1-10

THE BASIS FOR PASTORAL MINISTRY

The basis for pastoral ministry is not the job description, duties and personal qualifications for pastors that are stated in the bible.  The basis for pastoral ministry is genuine and transparent loving relationships with God and people.  That is the basis for all ministry.  The job description and duties are guidelines for the day to day work of the ministry.  The personal qualifications are a requirement for a person to enter into and remain in ministry.  But, the qualifications for the position and the day to day duties are not the basis for pastoral ministry.  Relationships are not duties or qualifications or strategies or principles or administrative policies.  Relationships are people and the vital, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual connections between them.  Mark 12:28-31; 1 Cor. 12-13; Eph. 4:1-6; Phil. 2:3-4; 1 Thess. 2:8; 1 John 4:20

IMPLEMENTATION

The method of implementation of these principles and the resulting church culture can, and should, vary between churches.  That is, a church in rural Africa will have a very different culture than one in suburban America, even though they preach the same doctrine and have the same philosophy of ministry.  And this is a good thing because each church needs to be able to affect the culture they are in with the gospel.  The gospel message and biblical ministry are what must be consistent between churches, church culture can vary.

For myself, I want to be part of a church family that emphasizes genuine and transparent love relationships with God and others. And I want to serve God and His people in that church family by preaching, teaching, shepherding, discipling and praying for God’s people so they grow more and more into the image of Christ and take His gospel to the world.

I believe that implementing the truths and principles mentioned above will ultimately produce a church that is becoming more like the one I describe below.  So, in light of this philosophy of ministry, this is . . .

THE KIND OF CHURCH I WANT

The people love God

They worship God in spirit and truth

They live a lifestyle of worship

They are more and more holy and without sin

They love others

They keep Christ central to everything

They consider others better than themselves

They build one another up and help each other be more like Christ

They pray, a lot

The Bible is taught there

The Bible teaching is good and applicable and relevant to life

They read their Bible, a lot

They take care of orphans and widows and the weak and vulnerable

They watch over and protect one another

They are patient with one another

They are dedicated to their church

They are unified around the gospel

They use their gifts

They serve and are involved

They give generously and the church is well financed

They have biblical church leadership

They are submitted to church leadership

They don’t let the weaker brother dictate according to his weakness

They work hard at achieving and keeping unity

They make ministry decisions according to the Bible, wisdom and conviction, not what is practical, traditional or expedient

They are not tied to tradition

They are not respecters of people’s worldly wealth, status or power

They have good and effective communication

They confront sin

They don’t complain

They examine their epistemology, presuppositions and world view to see if they are biblical

They don’t mimic culture, but are in their culture and are relevant to it

They witness to the world

They reach their culture

They are heavily involved in local and world missions

They stand up for God and His truth

They don’t shrink from persecution

The worship songs are meaty, with lots of doctrine

No one is uncomfortable or inhibited in worship

They warmly welcome each other and visitors

They accept me for who I am, but they also expect me, and help me, to grow

It makes me a better person because I go there

It makes me love and serve others more because I go there

It makes me love, obey and know God more because I go there

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