Programs are Programs

Programs are just programs. They’re a way to organize people and help them go where God has already called them to go and [do] what God has already called them to do.

I love this statement from Allison Vesterfelt’s post on the StoryLine blog.

I think when we look at our church (the one we are regularly attending) in North America, we tend to see its ministry in terms of the programs that it runs.  We have a view on ministry that says ministry = programs and programs = ministry.  That is, with more words, if some kind of ministry is important, we create a program to do it, and by default any ministry that doesn’t have a program wrapped around it isn’t that important. Continue reading “Programs are Programs”

Value Driven Ministry

Every ministry or minister (servant) has values that relate to their service. God has given each of us talents and gifts to use in His service. In service each of us glorifies God by using those gifts and talents to produce fruit.

God does not need our service to produce fruit. But we experience God's work when we participate in the production of fruit in this way. Our relationship with God is strengthened by our service. God allows us to participate, for our own edification, and His glorification.

So naturally, we value the ministry or service opportunities that allow us to use the gifts and talents that He has so freely given us. We see God working through us, using the gifts and talents that He gave us.

Problems happen when:

1) On a personal level, we identify with our gifts instead of our fruitfulness – this is a beginning of spiritual pride, when we identify with our gifts and talents, rather than focusing on how we are an instrument used by God to produce fruit. We then limit God to using us in specific ways, we see certain areas of ministry as out of bounds because they are not aligned with our gifts or talents.

2) On a corporate level we value some gifts and talents above others – this is about spiritual deformity in the church. A church that values some gifts and talents above others will eventually become crippled, like a bodybuilder that builds one muscle only, the church becomes "muscle bound". Our values become our constraints. A church that values evangelism above all else, may fail to produce fruit of discipleship. A church that values teaching above all else, may fail to produce the fruit of regeneration. A body made of hands can't walk, a body made of feet can't carry, a body made of eyes, can't hear, etc.

When we value the fruit, rather than the gifts and talents that produce the fruit, we are free to maintain balance, and recognize the gifts and talents that we lack to produce more fruit. Each ministry should recognize what gifts and talents it needs to produce fruit, and continually seek to uncover, develop, and leverage those gifts and talents. Each ministry should evaluate how it could use the gifts and talents that it already has to produce more fruit.

If you value the fruit, then you value the resources GIVEN BY GOD that help produce the fruit. If you value the gifts and talents more than the fruit, then you don't really understand why God gave them in the first place, and you will eventually err by misusing the gifts, you will eventually fail to produce fruit.