Why gospel ministry is about producing people, not things

We make disciples. That’s our Lord’s command. We’re not about making events, or buildings, or programs, or sermons, or books, or blogs.
That doesn’t mean we don’t work on these things, it doesn’t mean we don’t also do these things. In fact, doing these things may take up 90% of church staff time. But that’s ok, as long as the goal and purpose of doing those things is producing people.
This is also why we should keep seeing things happen at just below their best… because we’re constantly bringing people in, giving them a go, and developing their skills and faith in God who works through them.
As you look at your ministry week, are you producing people? Are you coaching them and developing them into Jesus’ people?

Why you should have purposes #3 : You already do them (probably badly)

If you’re in paid full time ministry, you’ve already thought hard about WHY you do the things your doing. You’ve thought hard about why you spend 10hrs on one thing, and only 2 on the other, right? (Ok well lets just assume you could justify it).
The fact is that all those things you’re already doing all fall into one of about 5-6 categories. Sure some might fall into two, some might fall into three. But they will have a primary purposes, with secondary outcomes.
So do a little exercise… Review how much of your week/month is spent trying to achieve these purposes;

  • growing and facilitating people’s convictions about evangelism
  • growing and facilitating people’s expression of Christian fellowship
  • growing and facilitating people’s maturity in knowing God
  • growing and facilitating people’s expression of thankfulness, obedience and love of God
  • growing and facilitating people’s skills in service of the kingdom

Sure you might slice the cake a bit differently, but that’s what the things you do come down to, don’t they?
Why do you put effort into music? It’s a little bit of a few of them, but mainly because you want to provide a right and joyful expression of love for God, right?
Why do you meet with your growth group leaders? Because you want to help them grow others in maturity, right?
I reckon you can link everything you do in ministry to one of these big purposes.
See, you’re already doing them… But do you know which ones you do best? Do you know which ones you’re spending the most time on? Do you know which ones you’re neglecting? Do you know which ones are holding you back (humanly speaking) from growing?

Why you should staff purposes #2: Not programs!

I’ve spoken to a fair number of people who’ve told me they’ve tried the “purpose based” model of church staff, or sometimes they call it the “portfolio model”. But when you dig a little deeper, it turns out they haven’t ally tried it, what they’ve actually done is just reshuffle the cabinet.
They’ve kept Pastor Joe on as the evening church/young adults guy, and on top of that, they’ve given him the evangelism portfolio. But by that, what they mean is, “you have to run the evangelism STRUCTURE/EVENT for the other two congregations!”
Now, this is stupid for so many reasons…

  • what if the pastors of those other two congregations don’t want Joe to run an evangelism structure for them? What if they don’t like how he’s going to run it?
  • so, are the pastors of those other two congregations just meant to ignore evangelism in their congregations because Joe’s doing it?
  • if Joes is still meant to be the young adults pastor, when on earth is he going to haven the opportunity to develop an evangelism initiate with the other two congregations? It’s not his priority, and it never will be.
  • structures don’t work. They only provide an avenue for people to express what they are convinced of. That is, if people are convinced and excited about evangelism, they’ll use a structure to help them do it. If they’re not, putting something on isn’t going to change their mind

That’s why you should give your staff Purposes, not structures and not even portfolios. Set them a purpose, a vision for the people across all their congregations; “make us a people who are excited about evangelism, trained for it, and doing it”. That’s a purpose to work towards. That’s a purpose to staff!