A STRATEGIC PLAN EXPLORED – Part Four
[This six part article on a strategic plan is in no way exhaustive and set in stone but is merely theoretical. Join with me in this discussion! We ask: with the Lord’s direction can an already established congregation be lead into a more simple and organic church life? I will share this strategic plan in six parts over the next few days. If you would like to see the whole article, go to my website at Strategic Church Network.]
- Part One: Introduction and A Personal Note
- Part Two: Foundations and Definitions
- Part Three: The Problem
- Part Four: Philosophy Of Ministry – Guiding Principles and Goals
- Part Five: Strategic Steps
- Part Six: Challenges and Conclusion and
PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY – GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND GOALS:
This is a brief and not exhaustive overview of the philosophy of ministry that would be held to attempt this transition from traditional/attractional to simple/organic:
Jesus is Primary – Jesus is the center of all that is said and done. Jesus is Lord will be the core affirmation, everything else will follow.
Revelation of Jesus → → Mission – Disciple Making → → Church Happens.
Traditionally we establish church, and then we attempt to make disciples so that they come to an understanding of who Jesus is. Knowing Jesus comes by revelation. This revelation of Jesus comes first, and then discipleship happens focusing on the mission of the disciple. This activity causes real church to happen. Jesus’ will is to always remain the head of the church. So we reveal Jesus, disciple them and while this is going on, church happens! This also puts Jesus in his rightful place of building His church rather than men.
Be Incarnational/Missional – It has been said that “What we draw them with is what we draw them to.” That being said, the church must attract them to Jesus rather than to human achievements, personalities and programs. Although attractional churches make it easy for some seekers to visit them, incarnational churches go to where the people are instead of spending time and energy attracting people to come to a service. We see our God as a missionary God and we are a sent people.
Walk in love – Agape love is to be our motivation. Agape is love without expecting anything is return. It is the love in which God loves us. In relationships with one another and the community, our goal will be to express the love of God to all. Our attitude towards other churches in the Body of Christ will be that of love and not comparing ourselves to them, but blessing them.
We focus on Making Disciples – Discipleship will be the purpose of all activities. The simple, organic church discipleship desires to make no man or women dependent upon one leader or any source (such as curriculum or meetings) for spiritual growth and maturity. The goal is to make the disciple totally dependent on his relationship with Christ using the Bible and his relationship with Jesus as his primary source. The only tools needed for the follower of Christ is his Bible and his life being applied to God’s word. Simply, they need to learn to feed themselves rather being dependent on a preacher to feed them. It has been said “to make a disciple all you need is two people who are willing to surrender to Jesus, the Word of God, and then use life’s circumstances that Jesus has given you as the curriculum, and maybe do this over a meal or a cup of coffee.”
We will resist Dualism – Dualism is the practice of seeing life divided as sacred and secular. Our goal is to see all of our life sacred. God is not just in church or worship services. We must see him in all aspects of life. Many times we have two spheres of life – our church life, and our life in the world. This is in error. You are the same whether in church or at work or visiting family or at play with your friends. When a part of our life is separate from our spiritual life or Christian life (church life); that part of our life is the breeding ground for idolatry. When we see all of our life under Jesus’ lordship and sacred, our spiritually is genuine and real. When we give our life to Jesus, our life becomes His, therefore all of our life is sacred.
We will recognize the Priesthood of All Believers – Everyone has a part, a gift, and no one is better than another. Every believer must function as a priest and king. The church is a gathering of these priests and kings; a chosen people doing the Lord’s will.
Here are some basic goals that would guide the congregation to a more simple, organic expression of church.
- Transition the church from a traditional/institutional/attractional model to a simple/organic model.
- To use the facility (which many times has an historic and cultural identity in a community) as a bridge to the community that expects church to be in a building and that has Sunday services. This will facilitate and spiritual environment where when there is gathering, it leads to scattering. The building will be seen as a tool and not a sanctuary or temple.
- To make disciples who follow Christ and are able to mature regardless of the condition of organized Christianity or society, but based upon their relationship with Jesus and their family in Christ.
- To equip the church to do the work of the ministry via the gifting/function of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher.
- To acknowledge the church as already sent into areas of the community to reach those who may never come to a church service; establishing discipleship groups in homes, businesses and social gathering points.
- To prepare the congregation to reach/disciple the nations (people groups) that have come into our communities as well as those who live in areas of the world where the gospel has not been preached.
- To multiply the numbers of disciples that then make disciples themselves. Growth will not be measured by those who attend a service, but by those who are actively doing the ministry of Jesus as He has gifted and called them.
- To serve as a base for other simple, organic, and house churches who need a place to gather with other believers for times of celebration, instruction and fellowship beyond their own gathering.
Now what are some of the steps we should take? I will discuss this in my next post.
 Cole, Neil, Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens, Jossey-Bass, 2005, pg. 95