“All for one and one for all!” This was the cry of the Three Musketeers. They would rally together and then usually defeat whatever size attack would come their way. The swashbuckling tales of these men were engaging and exciting! I believe our ministry should be engaging and exciting. While making disciples that make a difference is not for the weak, it does not have to be overly complicated either. Over the years, I have developed and implemented this concept in every church. However, it has never looked the same twice. Every church has her own needs and purpose. I believe that every church has a calling from God to accomplish. While we all have the Great Commission and Great Commandment, every church looks different. We have too great a need just to copy or repeat someone else’s work and ministry. We can learn from others, but we must do what God wants for each local church. I would like to share with you a few key points.
I believe a person must come to faith in Jesus Christ.
We live in a world that is confused. So many people want to believe that they must have more right than wrong to go to Heaven. People want to believe they are not dead in their sin. People want to believe that attendance and baptism are the requirements. The truth is that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. We cannot be a disciple or make a lasting difference until faith is placed in Jesus Christ.
I believe that a convert is to become a disciple.
Jesus discipled His followers. We call them disciples, but they were becoming disciples as they walked with Him. Jesus did not have a program. He had a process. He spent time developing their thinking about everyday life. He sent them to try-out ministry. He taught them and He loved them. Though one betrayed Him, 11 changed the world! I believe that being a convert is not the end. Jesus commanded us to make disciples. This job is messy. We have to engage in people’s lives. We help them through difficulties and we clean up messes. Yet, we change the world with this process.
I believe that a church is to nurture one another to make disciples that make a difference.
The local church is the point of reference for the follower of Jesus. Corporate worship is a time for the believer to gather with others and celebrate God’s goodness and Jesus’ resurrection. The programs and ministries of the local church serve to make disciples that are making a difference locally, nationally, and globally. We cannot continue to isolate ourselves in holy huddles. We must spring forth from worship to connect our faith to our lives.
I believe no two churches will look exactly alike because God has specific purposes for each and populated those churches with the right people to carry out the task.
I have seen this dynamic far too often. Pastors preach like the popular speakers. Churches model themselves after the latest trends and books. We cannot be someone else. God has planted every church for a specific purpose in His overall redemption plan. For this reason, every church will look and feel a little different. It is the responsibility of the leadership to help develop the esteem and identity of the congregation so that the church can flourish as God intended. It then becomes the responsibility of the church to follow the leadership God provides.
I believe a pastor of a church should strive to equip, encourage, and engage the people to fulfill the call of the Kingdom in their lives both individually and corporately.
The role of a pastor has been hotly debated over the years. It has also changed over the years. I do not think there is any one perfect pastor type. God puts pastors and churches together in a symbiotic relationship; each needs the other. Whenever either one misunderstands this point there will be obstacles to overcome and barriers to growth. However, when both understand the benefit of the other God receives glory and He blesses His church. Some pastors will be highly evangelistic and have great numbers in salvation and baptisms. In a few years, everyone wonders where those people are. Some pastors, want to gravitate toward social ministry without a proper balance of evangelism or development. Still others will want to take a few and drive them deep into the Word, but are missing the larger picture. I believe in balance. We must be sharing the gospel locally, nationally, and globally. We must be developing those who have turned their lives over to God. Equipping mentors and leaders serves both the leader and the learner in developing a stronger faith. We have heard it said that each person is saved to serve. We should be inviting as many as are interested to take part in the process of leadership and ministry. A local church should be people-driven and professionally led. Too often, I have encountered churches that have become professionally driven. The hired guns do all the work. I believe that God has provided ministers to lead, guide, and direct. Pastors are not to do all the work but should seek out those who can do the work for their own benefit and for the overall encouragement it brings to others.
The musketeers were victorious because they worked together toward a common goal. They might not always agree with each other, but they wold always work together. Our churches, to be successful in this century must learn to set aside differences and come together for a common goal. Evangelism and discipleship are worthy goals.