A better illustration than “trellis & vine”

The “trellis & vine” is a really helpful illustration in some ways. It helps clarify the difference between word/disciple ministry and upkeep/admin ministry. You can’t have one with out the other… even meeting up 1:1 to read the bible requires organising a time, place, etc. That’s trellis work (not to mention it relies on heaps of past trellis work like bible translation, typesetting, publication, distribution).

Another illustration of ministry could be “the sickle & the harvest”. See, in order to collect a harvest, you could just use your hands. But it would take 100s of people and 100s of man hours. Or you could use some tools; a sickle, a bag, etc. They increase what you’re able to do. There’s a small cost… some sheaths will get missed, but not as many as if you did it by hand with the same number of people.

But you could also use a combine harvester. But that doesn’t mean you just need 1 worker (the driver). It means you’ll need most of your workers working on keeping the harvester going.

That’s what systems, structures and processes are to a church… every church has them and they are either reducing the number of people you can reach, or they’re reaching more people while letting some thru the cracks.