Saturday, June 5, 2010

The church's center

Is your church centered around ministry or around the minister?  I believe this is one of the primary differences between maintenance-minded churches and missional churches.  Maintenance-minded churches are centered around the minister.  He or she is the focal point for nearly everything the church does.  It is expected that the pastor will touch just about everything that occurs in the church.  That expectation may come from the congregation that believes that if the pastor isn't involved in something it isn't important, but sometimes that expectation comes from the pastor who believes that he or she is called to micromanage everything that occurs in the church.  Regardless of the source of the expectation, it still results in a maintenance-minded church.

Missional churches are not centered around any personality including the minister's.  These churches are centered around ministry.  They have a clear sense of God's vision for their church, and like a horse wearing blinders, they are focused on fulfilling that vision.  The minister is seen as an equipper of the saints; he or she is not expected to be involved in every ministry that occurs in the life of the church but to help others in the congregation live out their giftedness and passion for ministry.

From my experience, I believe too many churches are centered around a minister or some other personality in the church.   These churches become stuck when they are seeking new pastoral leadership.  They fear they cannot do anything until they find a new pastor.  More times than I like to remember, members of such churches have told me that everything is on hold until they get a new pastor.

There is only one Head of any church, and He isn't called by any committee or appointed by any overseer.  It is His leadership that our churches must follow.  It is His vision that matters most.  Yes, He has given the office of pastor to the church to provide human leadership, but the life of the church isn't to focus on that individual nor is it to come to a standstill while seeking a new pastor.

I would challenge every church leader reading this posting to examine your church and see where the life of your church is centered.  Is it centered around a minister or is it centered around its ministry?  For a church to have the greatest impact on a community it must be centered around ministry.

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