“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
An effective strategy for the local church focuses on four critical elements: connect, worship, grow, and serve. Everything a church does should focus on executing this four-dimensional strategy in a systematic, disciplined way.
The first element of ministry strategy is to connect with people in the community, and then facilitate connecting those people with the Lord Jesus Christ and his people. Everyone in the church should be fully committed to building relationships with people in their sphere of influence, introducing them to faith in Christ, and connecting them with the church.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.18-20)
The strategy of connecting is not a pushy, aggressive, hard-sell approach. It is deeply relational, interpersonal, and authentic. It is not the responsibility of the church as an organization to connect with people in the community; rather, it is the responsibility of the Christians in the church to connect with people in their sphere of influence.
Again, evangelism is personal and relational.
If your church relies on programs rather than people to connect with the community, you have a serious problem that requires immediate attention. The church isn’t a place, it’s a people.
The second element of ministry strategy is to gather for worship, celebration, fellowship, and teaching of the Word.
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95.1-7)
There is much discussion and debate today about approaches to worship. Based on what scripture teaches, I believe that the Sunday worship service should focus on believers gathering to worship God. It should not focus on attracting and catering to “seekers.”
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4.23-24)
Please do not misunderstand. I am not suggesting that a ministry should ignore seekers. The very purpose of the “Connect” element of strategy is for people in the church to reach out and engage with people in their sphere of influence in the community.
But this is the task of people, not the purpose of the worship service. If Christians in the church are not connecting with others in the community, do not modify the worship service to attract seekers; rather, do a better job of equipping believers to connect with people in the community.
Tomorrow we will consider the final two elements of church strategy.