Philosophy of Ministry


It is imperative to know why we do what we do. If that question is not answered, all of our activity merely becomes motion without meaning.  Our Philosophy of ministry consists of the following 4 major sections:


What the Church IS (The Character of the Church)

What the Church is TO DO (The Calling and Conduct of the Church)

Administration and Organization of the Church

Primary and Critical Foundations for the Church


With the Bible as the basis or foundation, philosophy is used here in the sense of a formulated system or belief regarding the ministry of the local church. This is presented only as an overview and not intended to be a detailed explanation.


What the Church IS

(The Character of the Church)

Manifold Descriptions of the Church and Their Purpose

The Varied Descriptions of the Church

In a context dealing with the purpose and ministry of the church in the world, Peter addresses his readers as: (1) living stones who were being built up for a spiritual house, (2) a holy and royal priesthood, (3) a people belonging only to God, and (4) aliens and strangers (1 Pet. 2:5, 9, 11). These are similes of identification which call attention to who and what the people of God are, but there is another purpose as well. Peter also wants us to reflect on what the people of God ought to be doing. We are to be engaged in building up this spiritual house, offering s pi- ritual sacrifices in the worship of God, proclaiming the excellencies of God to a world lost in darkness, and abstaining  from  fleshly  lusts  so  that  we  can  keep  our  behavior,  our  manner  of  life  and  testimony,  excellent  before  an unbelieving world lest we ignore and discredit our witness.

Throughout the New Testament, the writers employed numerous descriptive terms to call our attention to the nature and identity of the church. It is defined by a variety of literal terms and portrayed by one rich analogy after another. The church is likened to salt, light, sheep, a bride, a spiritual temple, a household, members of Christ’s body, branches in  the  vine, athletes, soldiers, and  heavenly lights. Its people are called  children of  God, adopted sons, priests, servants, bondslaves, stewards, and partners with Christ, just to name a few. One author estimates that there are over eighty images or figures of the church.

As Saucy suggests, The nature of the church is far too broad to be exhausted in the meaning of the  one word ekklesia. . . . This richness of description precludes a narrow concept of the church and warns against magnification of one aspect to the disregard of others.

The Purposes of the Varied Descriptions

We might well ask the question, why such a variety of descriptions? Notice that most of these pictures imply  action  and  ministry.  They  describe  the  character,  conduct,  and  calling  of  the  church.  Undoubted ly,  God  has painted such pictures in Scripture in order to challenge, motivate, and charge us into action. It is absolutely impera- tive that we grasp this vision of who we are as God’s people, where we are, and why we are here—God’s repre- sentatives  in  an  alien  country.  And  the  hope  is  that  we  become  gripped  by  this  truth  or  we  will  fail  to  see  and espond to the purpose for our existence.

Two Models of the Church Compared and Their Products

 The Two Models Compared

Concept of ChurchOrganizationOrganism
Believers“Members” (as in a club)Disciples of Jesus Christ (members of the Body)
InvolvementSpectators (observing action)Participants in the action, ministers
HeadThe peopleJesus Christ
AuthorityConstitution plus “proof texts”The Whole Word of God
GovernmentDemocracy (of and by the people)Theocracy (of God via Word andH.S.)
Selection of LeadershipElectionAppointment (depending on God to raise up gifted men and cause us to recognize them as leaders)
Basic MinistryConducting servicesEquipping, meeting needs
Place of MinistryChurch building (at stated times)Anywhere (all the time)
Primary ConcernPrograms, things, buildings, etc.God’s glory, people
ObjectiveBuild up the local church (club)Build up the Body
Determining FactorWhat the people WANT (peace at any price)What the people NEED (according to the Word)
Great CommissionGet converts (addition)Make disciples (multiplication)
FieldOur own areaThe world
Purpose of AssemblingEntertainment, evangelism in the serviceStimulate to love and good deeds;encourage and equip the saints
EmphasisMeetings, setting and breaking recordsGod, individuals, families, quality plus quantity
Pastor-TeacherAdministrator, speaker, visitor, em- ployee (belongs exclusively to this church)Teacher, counselor, shepherd, equip- per (belongs to body, works primari- ly with this assembly)
Attitude toward Pastor-TeacherThe “minister” (professional)One of “many” ministers
BoardAdministrators, decision makers, occupied with facilities, etc.Multiplicity of leadership; unified; working together to equip the saints for ministry.
ResourcesHuman ingenuity, available funds, etc.Word, prayer, H.S., spiritual gifts, and ministries
MethodologyWhat we’re used to, feel comfortablewithWhatever the situation demands as long as it is true to God’s Word and honors the Lord
ProceduresBeg, plead, cajole, etc. for workersTrust God to raise gifted individuals(if HE isn’t interested; WE won’t be)
Leadership given toAnyone willingFaithful, available, teachable people



This was taken from material prepared by M. C. Harman, Barcroft Bible Church, Arlington, Virginia.



FinancesNeeds dealt with only with available fundsDetermine needs, then TRUST GODto work through His people
StaffHired employees who carry out the policies set by the people through the BoardAssociates for full-time involvement;a TEAM to assist in functioning of the Body
SalariesDetermined by “what I make” or “what I think” (staff viewed as em- ployees hired by men)Determined by biblical principles (e.g., 1 Tim. 5:17-18). Staff viewed as those sent by God to whom the assembly bears responsibility
AttitudesConditional acceptanceUnconditional acceptance
Ultimate ConcernOur church; what others thinkExalting Christ; what God says
ResultRev. 3:1b Like the church at Sardis:you are alive, but you are deadEph. 4:11-16 Body built up to matur- ity functioning as God intends


The Two Products

Quite  obviously  the  biblical  model  leads  to  a  healthy,  ministering  church  whereas  the  traditional  model leads to a sterile, ineffective church where the affliction of “spectatoritis,” the rust of institutionalism, and the self- indulgence of consumerism has all but reduced the church to invalid status. Rather than the picture of a well-trained soldier or athlete, the church today looks more like a patient dependent on a host of life support systems.

This naturally leads us to what the church ought to be doing in the light of who it is.



The Calling and Conduct of the Church

What the Church is TO DO


One Purpose:  Glorify God !

The great purpose of the church is to be to the praise of God’s glory and grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). The praise of God’s glory occurs when people come to Christ and become conformed into His image. Saving sinful people and making them like God’s Son manifests the glory of God’s divine essence (His love, grace, mercy, power, goodness, sovereignty, and holiness). In this primary purpose, the church is to be used of God to bring people to Christ and see them transformed to His character (Col. 1:28).

How does the Church Glorify God ?

God has established certain vehicular objectives which  will carry us toward His ultimate designs for the church,   and thus glorify Himself.   The Church glorifies God by intensely pursuing His objectives for the church. But we must know what they are and be committed to their use. So, what are they?.

There are essentially 3 major objectives:

Exaltation (The upward focus)                     The Church’s relationship to God

Edification (The Inward focus)                     The Church’s relationship to each other (believers)

Evangelism (The outward focus)   The Church’s relationship to the world (unbelievers)


1. Exaltation

Everything that the church does must first and foremost exalt and honor the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17).

The Church should exalt God by . . .

(1) Giving Praise and Thanksgiving  (Heb. 13:15; Col. 1:12; 3:15-17). Believers need to be taught and challenged to live by praise and thanksgiving as they share together in the riches of Christ. To encourage this, the church needs some public opportunity to express its adoration to God individually as well as corporately.

(2) Singing and Making Melody (Acts 16:25; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). As with all other aspects of worship, music must be the product of spirit-motivated expression to God and should be designed to en- courage and unite hearts together in adoration of Him.

(3) Baptizing (Matt. 28:19; 1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is to be a public demonstration of a be liever’s faith, understanding of his or her position in Christ with its ramifications, and this includes commitment to walk with Christ in newness of life.

(4) Observing the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-24). As a public act of worship, the communion service should be designed to promote soul searching, evaluation, and reflection on the Savior and what He means to our life.  It  is  a  Redeclaration,  a  testimony  of  one’s  faith  in  Christ  in  both  His  first  and  second  advents,  a  Remem- brance, an act of worship by which we remember and count on the person and work of Christ as the source and means of life, and an expression of the Relationship of harmony and oneness of mind in love, values, and commitment that should exist in the body of Christ.


2. Edification

“Equipping” is one of the primary ways to help people become like Jesus Christ. This is accomplished as

the gifted people of the church pour their lives into others and they in turn reach out to others with the vision of every believer a minister and an ambassador (Eph. 4:11-16).


The Church Gathered—Edification—Equipping Saints

Ministry of the Word—Instruction Through . . .

(1) Preaching (Ezra 6:14; Neh. 8:8; 2 Tim. 4:1-3). The Word of God must be faithfully preached from the pulpit: (a) inductively, (b) exegetically, and (c) expositionally.

(2) Teaching (Ezra 7:10; Acts 20:20; Col. 1:28). The Word of God must also be taught in both large and small group settings. This involves questions and answers, and practical dialogue together around the Word  with practical applications that hit people where they live.

(3)  Training  (2  Tim.  2:2-4).  Believers  must  be  trained  in  such  practical  aspects  as  how  to  study  their Bibles, how to pray, how to witness, how to walk in the power of the Spirit, etc., that they may, in turn, be able to train others.

(4) Exhorting (Col. 1:28; 3:16). The church must be exhorted to positive decisions for Christ that promote commitment and Christ-like values and living.

Ministry of Fellowship—Sharing Together by . . .

(1) Encouraging (Heb. 10:24-25). Believers must be challenged to encourage one another in the practical areas of the Christian life. A key part of this could be small groups which provide for individual sharing, encouragement, and accountability.

(2) Counseling (Rom. 16:14; 1 Thess. 5:14). As believers within the body are built up in the Word, trained for ministry, and exercise their gifts, they should naturally be able to meet many of the counseling needs within the church.

(3) Disciplining (Matt. 18:15-20; Gal. 6:1-4). Because of the clear mandates of Scripture, church discipline is not an option. It is vital for the purity, power, progress, and purpose of the church. Without this restorative ministry, conditions continue which defile, weaken, hinder, and divert the church from its holy calling. However, discipline must be carried out with biblical attitudes, motives, and goals.

(4) Sharing, Giving (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:7; 1 John 3:16-17). The church must be taught the principles of grace giving, eternal priorities, and encouraged to sacrificially meet the needs of the ministry of the church and others through words, deeds, and gifts of love.

(5) Laboring Together as a Team (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 14f; Phil. 1:27; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). Recognizing the body concept and learning to work together as a team with every believer knowing and using their gift(s) is critical for the proper and effective functioning of the body of Christ.

(6) Helping (Rom. 15:1-3; 16:2; Phil. 2:4; 4:3; 1 Thess. 5:14; Tit. 2:14; 3:1, 8, 14). As members of the body of Christ,  we need one another and  we must learn to care for one  another. Another dimension of a healthy church is taking interest in those who need help, being zealous and ready for every good deed in order to meet pressing needs.

Ministry of Prayer—Calling on the Lord by . . .

(1) Confession (1 Cor. 11:28; 1 John 1:9; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 28:13). Believers should be encouraged to keep short accounts  with God  in order  to keep  a conscience void  of offense and  stay in  fellowship  for the purpose of God’s glory, effective prayer, meaningful worship, biblical understanding and growth, and effective ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(2) Adoration (Eph. 3:20-21). Believers need to be challenged to make every aspect of their life an act of worship to God by which they count and act on the glories of God’s person and grace. Unless this is true, the Sun- day worship service becomes mere lip service, an exercise of self-worship by which people seek to satisfy selfish ends while they manage to keep their hearts from God (Isa. 29:13).

(3) Intercession and Petition (Eph. 6:18-19; Col. 4:2-3, 12; Phil. 4:6-7; 2 Tim. 2:1f). Effectual prayer for others, for oneself and family, for the nation and its leaders, and for the ministry of the church is crucial to all thatthe church is and does.

3.  Evanglization

If a church is not reaching out to the lost, it is not fulfilling one of the great reasons God has left her on this planet. When we do not evangelize, we fossilize (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Col. 4:3).


The Church Scattered—Evangelization—Penetrating Society

Doing Good—Our Walk—Modeling the Word (Titus 3:1, 8, 14)

(1) Making Friends (Matt. 22:39; Luke 10:33; John 4:4f; Gal. 6:10a; Tit. 3:14). Believers must be taught and encouraged to build bridges and develop relationships with the lost. Penetrating society for contact is vital to evangelism. People must learn to help their neighbors, show mercy, and, according to their ability, give to those in need to demonstrate the love of Christ and build bridges for the gospel.

(2)  Preserving  (Matt.  5:13-16;  2  Thess.  2:6-7).  The  calling  of  the  church  is  not  to  control  the  political process at local, state, or national levels, but to seek genuine political and moral reform by spiritual renewal through prayer and reaching our society for Christ because it is impossible to effect genuine political reform through legislation without spiritual reformation.

Sharing the Gospel—Our Talk—Giving Out the Word (Col. 4:5-6; 1 Thess. 1:7-8)

(1) The Means—Personal Witnessing (Rom. 10:17; Luke 10:2). The church must be involved in an active ministry of sharing the gospel to the lost. This should involve an outreach to all ages and groups in order to fulfillthe great commission.

(2)  The  Methods—Sharing,  Refuting,  Reasoning,  Persuading,  Demonstrating,  Proving  (Acts  9:22;

17:17; 18:4, 28; 19:8-9; 1 Pet. 3:15). While only the Spirit of God can illuminate a person’s heart to the truth of thegospel, God still uses the witness of the believer.


The Motivation—Preparation Through Training

Because of this, the church must be taught, trained, and challenged not only to share its faith, but to be ableto give a verbal defense for what it believes (Eph. 4:11f; Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20).

Thus,  the church is to be gathered for instruction, edification, worship and fellowship. However, true worship and fellowship is seen in Scripture as an outgrowth and a response to biblical revelation. Second, as a further outgrowth of the church gathered and the impact of that on its spiritual life, the church is scattered throughout the week for the purpose of evangelism and ministry. The church must evaluate what it is doing. Are its activities, pro- grams, committees, etc., contributing to the major purposes and objectives according to its calling as the people of God, or has it lost its way in institutionalism.

Performance Standards of Success

False Standards of Measurement

Biblical success for a church should never be measured in bodies, bucks, and buildings, or names, numbers, and noses, or in action, activities, and busy agendas, or even in the presence of sound beliefs and teaching. Even a casual reading of the letters to the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 make this clear.

True Standards of Measurement

The basic question is not how many people are present, but how Christ-like are the people? How much are they allowing the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to impact their lives? How well are they fulfilling the great purposes of Scripture? Are the people growing in the Word and in their relationship with Christ? What kind of families does it have? What kind of values, priorities, and pursuits are controlling the lives of its people? Are they honest in business, trained to share their faith, involved in ministry and penetrating society—the work place, their neighbor- hoods, friends, associates, and family?


The Administration and Organization of the Church


Principles of Leadership in the Church

The Principle of Identification

Because of confusion regarding the roles of pastor and flock, a confusion created largely by certain cultural expectations that have developed over the years, it has become even more imperative that we all have a clear biblical understanding of who the leaders and people are if churches are going to have effective ministries. Why? Because it affects what they do and expect from one another. (Compare (Eph. 4:12; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Heb. 13:7, 17).

The Leaders

The leaders of the church are referred to as “elders” (presbuteroi, Acts 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17), “overseers” (episkopoi, Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1), “leaders” (proistamenoi, Rom. 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:12), and “pastor/teachers” (poi- menas-didaskalous, Eph. 4:11; cf. also Acts 20:28 and 1 Pet. 5:2 with 1 Tim. 3:2, “able to teach” .

1:9). Though each of these terms may describe the different aspects of leadership, they seem to be used interchange- ably to designate the same office.  Above all, as Ephesians 4:11f makes clear,  they are equippers  whose agenda (priorities, allotment of time, and duties) are to be ordered by the Word of God, not by the agendas of people following their cultural expectations set by the traditions of men.

The People

The people of the church are ministers who are to be trained for the kind of growth in the Word that results in changed lives and ministry. Pastors/elders are to be a gifted, trained, and skilled believers whom God has called to lead a group of fellow priests or ministers, not a minister who leads a group of lay spectators.

The Principle of Pastoral Priorities in Responsibilities

The Necessity of Establishing Priorities (Acts 6:2)

When the apostles  were confronted  with how to  meet the  needs of the people, they first approached  the problem by establishing priorities. They said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.” Biblical priorities must determine responsibilities.

The Necessity of Training and Delegation (Acts 6:3-4; Ex. 18:1f; 1 Tim. 4:6, 11-16; 2 Tim. 2:2, 15)

Facing the limitations of one man, the necessity of priorities, and the giftedness of the body of Christ nat u- rally leads to the importance of training and delegation. Neither Moses, following Jethro’s advice, nor the apostles ignored the legitimate needs of the people, but neither did they allow themselves to be distracted from the pri mary needs of the people and the priorities of the Word. It becomes important, therefore, for pastors to train the body of saints in the basics of the Word and delegate various aspects of ministry to other members of the body according to their gifts and the Lord’s leading in each believer’s life.

Personal Priorities for Pastors or Elders—The pursuit of God (Matt. 6:33)

God is the central priority. Everything else flows from this center like spokes in a wheel (Prov. 4:23; Matt.12:34-35; 23:6).

(1) A strong marriage relationship (Eph. 5:25; 1 Tim. 3:4).

(2) Training and disciplining one’s children (Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 3:4-5).

(3) Serving the church in his pastoral responsibilities as set forth in Scripture (1 Pet. 5:2-3). (4) Modeling the character of Christ (1 Tim. 4:12, 15; 1 Pet. 5:3).

(5) Modeling the great commission: doing the work of evangelism with neighbors, friends, relatives, etc. (1Tim. 3:7).

Please note: Serving the church is not number one on the list of personal priorities. It is one of four key r e- sponsibilities. Too many men have ignored this and have broken up on the rocks of adultery or divorce or have ex- perienced spiritual burnout because they put their ministry ahead of their relationship with God and ignored their families.


Pastoral Priorities for Pastors/Elders


(1)  Prayer,  in-depth  Bible  study,  and  spiritual  preparation  for  teaching  and  communicating  the  Word. Teaching then becomes an overflow of a life bathed in the Word (Ezra 7:6-10; John 15:7; Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:1-3, 16;

1 Tim. 4:14-16; 2 Tim. 2:15).

(2) Preaching and teaching the Word (1 Tim. 4:6, 11-13; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Cor. 9:16). Some Goals:

  • Teach the people to love the Word of God (Isa. 66:2; Ps. 1:1-3).
  • Lead people to submit to the authority of the Word and to see obedience as a major goal of their lives (Josh.1:8).
  • Demonstrate that the proclamation of the Word is critical to worship (John 4:24).
  • Motivate people to look for and live in view of the coming of the Lord (Tit. 2:1, 11-15).
  • Motivate people to good deeds or ministry (Tit. 2:14; 3:1, 8, 14)

(3) Discipling leaders and future leaders (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:2)



(1) Calling, visiting, counseling (Rom. 15:1-4; 1 Thess. 5:11-12; Jam. 1:27; 5:14). (2) Administrative functions: thinking, planning and organizing, letters, etc.

The Principle of Plurality and Equality

In keeping with maintaining the priorities, the limited capacity of one man, and the giftedness of the bodyof Christ under His headship, authority, and preeminence, New Testament leadership appears to have been plural and equal with no system of hierarchy. Certain men will naturally function as leaders among the leaders because of their  training,  giftedness,  wisdom,  knowledge,  and  experience,  but  all  are  equal  and  accountable  to  each  other. (Compare Acts 15 and the leadership demonstrated by James among the leaders of the church at Jerusalem. Also compare Acts 14:23; 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17.)

The Principle of Selectivity and Quality

The  most  important  element  in  selecting  leaders  is  their  spiritual  qualification.  Selection  is  the process of applying biblical standards to the selection of leaders, but these are to be leaders chosen by the Holy Spirit. It means the greatest need is not leaders, but spiritual men. It also necessitates the intentional training and preparation of men to take a leadership role (Acts 6:3; 1 Tim. 3:1f; 2Tim. 2:2; Titus 1:6f).

Choosing men according to biblical standards means we must seek to select only those who have modeled commitment and obedience as an emergent leadership. This creates standards and establishes training examples who model the message (1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Pet. 5:3).

The Principle of Purity of Philosophy

(1) Definition: Philosophical purity simply refers to an agreement, especially among the leaders, but ex- tending to a broad base in the congregation, concerning (1) the purposes, goals, and product of the church, (2) the priority of certain ministries over others (exposition, training, evangelism, etc., versus some of the typical expect a- tions that people have regarding the church), and (3) the methods used to reach those objectives.

(2) Description: Philosophical purity means unity or oneness of mind, harmonious agreement, but not nec- essarily  unanimity,  the  complete  agreement  on  all  issues  (cf.  Phil.  1:27;  1  Cor.  1:10). Unity  means  coming  to  a working agreement based on a common objective.

(3) Necessity: Philosophical purity is vital to the kind of ministry that is able to multiply itself in growing, mature people who become engaged in the work of ministry in evangelism and edification.

(4) Key Scriptures: John 17:11-23; Eph. 4:3-16; Phil. 1:27; 2:2.

The Principle of Servant-Like Ministry

The church must be led by those who have the heart and life of a servant whose motives are pure (John 13:1f; Luke 22:26; 1 Thess. 2:3-8).

The Principle of Autonomy

Each local church is a separate entity in and of itself with its own God-given leaders and is answerable di- rectly and only to Christ (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:3).

Principles of Administration and Organization for the Church

Principles of Administration

The following is summarized from Sharpening the Focus of the Church:4

(1) Face the Reality of the Problems: Problems do not go away, they only get worse. They must be faced and dealt with according to the principles of Scripture.

(2) Develop a Clear Understanding of the Problem Before Seeking Concrete Solutions:  This  means getting all the facts available and then prayerfully seeking biblical solutions.

(3) Delegate Responsibility  to  Qualified People:  This principle follows  naturally the  “establishment of priorities” as seen in Exodus 18 and Acts 6. Note: Scripture stresses that this must be done with people who are qualified spiritually and by their ability (gifts and training as is needed).

(4) Establish Priorities According to Biblical Agendas:  In solving problems and  meeting the needs of people, we must, as emphasized above, act in accord with God’s priorities or we create overload and burnout (cf. Ex. 18:18).

(5) Solve Problems Creatively Under the Leading of the Holy Spirit: It is easy to get locked into admin- istrative routines that kill the freedom of the Spirit of God to lead us in different ways and use our God -given creativity.


Principles of Organization

(1) Organize to Apply New Testament Principles and to Accomplish New Testament Purposes: Organization must never become an end in itself. We must seek to develop structures for the church which will help us accomplish New Testament purposes and objectives. When an organizational form ceases or fails to do that, it needs to be abandoned.

(2) Organize to Meet Needs According to Biblical Standards: We must never organize to organize. The New Testament church organized only when a need arose and only as long as the need existed.

(3) Keep Organization Simple: This follows the former. Organization must be functional to accomplish biblical purposes, goals, etc., and to meet needs. A good test: is the structure serving the goals or has it become an end in itself? Is it serving or is it being served?

(4) Keep Organization Flexible: Biblical leaders were never locked into organizational structures.


Primary and Critical Foundations For the Church

The Authority of Scripture Over Belief and Practice

The prophet wrote, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to di- rect his steps” (Jer. 10:23). The authority of the Word of God is crucial and foundational to all that it is and does. We must not operate in a way that contradicts what is written in Scripture (1 Cor. 6:4). (Compare also 1 Tim. 1:10 -11; 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; cf. Mk. 7:8-13; Col. 2:22.)


The Necessity for Clear Vision of the Church and Its Purpose for Being

Vision (seeing as God wants us to see) is crucial for the people of God. It is through vision that we know and stay aware of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. Without vision, a church will end up in a maintenance program maintaining the status quo. This results in a church going nowhere (Prov. 28:18).

As God’s people, we need vision. We need to see the greatness of God and what is ours in Christ, but not simply for our own strokes or personal blessing. We need to see the world as God sees it and where our responsibil i- ties lie as members of the body of Christ. This means a vision for (1) every member ministry, and (2) what ministry consists of in biblical terms.


The Pursuit of God—The Need for Abiding

This involves the principle of “from the inside out” (cf. Matt. 6:33; John 15:1-7; Eph. 3:16-19  with Isa.29:13).

We  are  a  consumer-oriented,  self-centered,  self-indulgent  society  bent  on  pleasing  ourselves  rather  thanseeking to know and love God. We tend to seek the wrong things and asking the wrong questions. We ask, “What can this church do for me?  What can I get out of this church?” rather than “Can I know God here?  What can I give, how  can  I  serve?”  We  tend  to  worship  worship  and  what  we  get  out  of  it—a  good  feeling,  a  rosy  glow,  enter- tainment, etc., rather than thinking about God Himself and how His truth should impact our lives for God and the world. How do we turn this around? We begin by making God the number one priority and seeking to genuinely walk with Him in honest fellowship through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit of God.


Personal Commitment to God, to the Great Commission, and the Stewardship of All We Are

To truly know God is to love God, and to love God is to be committed to Him and His purposes. It is to live with a view to eternity when we will be forever in His glorious presence. When this is not fundamental and kept in focus in the ministry of a church, the people will naturally withhold their lives because earthly and material treasures will be more important (Matt. 22:36-40; 6:19-24; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:16-18).


The Priesthood of Believers and the

Principle of Every Believer Gifted by God for Service

There must be a commitment to teach the priesthood of believers and promote its implications for ministry along with its natural companion, the truth concerning spiritual gifts. Why? So more and more believers function as

a body in unity with diversity. This is vital to an effective ministry. “Spectatoritis” is an ailment in the church that must be remedied if the church is to count for God (Rom. 12:3f; 1 Cor. 12:4f; Eph. 4:7f; 1 Pet. 2:5 -11; 4:1-12).



Getz, Gene A., Sharpening the Focus of the Church, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1974. Hull, Bill, The Disciple Making Pastor, Fleming H. Revell, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1988.

J. Hampton Keathley III,, A Biblical Philosophy of Ministry, 2000

Miller, C. John, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, Ministry Resources Library, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan,1986.

Radmacher, Earl D., The Nature of the Church, Western Baptist Press, Portland, Oregon, 1972.

Richards, Lawrence O. and Gib Martin, Theology of Personal Ministry, Spiritual Giftedness in the Local Church, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980.

Saucy, Robert L., The Church in God’s Program, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1972.

Tillapaugh, Frank R., Unleashing the Church, Getting People Out of the Fortress and Into Ministry, Regal Books, Ventura, California, 1982.


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