The Battle for a Ministry Model

As our church community has internally been on a journey for the last 20 months reestablishing & “reowning” its philosophy (values, purpose, & vision), we are now in the midst of the grueling process of creating a strategy that is aligned with who we are and where we are going.

Through a few sessions with ministry leaders, the battle continues over the best ministry model in how we desire to make disciples as a church. Below is the current model in discussion, having varied consensus at this juncture:


The model shows that our two key community environments are the corporate worship environments (DNA: biblical, expository preaching & worship diversity) and the intimate community environments (DNA: Biblical Equipping, Unconditional Care, and Holistic Outreach). Ultimately, our primary platform for spiritual growth is the Adult Bible Fellowship (HABF, KBF, YBF, etc.).

Connected to these two environments is the equipping/care component and the missional environment. The equipping/care platform serves as added or more specialized ministries to “interject” into our main growth community, such as funerals and shuts-in (specialized care ministry) or our seminary training site, addictions support, and gender ministries (specialized equipping/support). The missional leg serves not only to provide local ministry partnerships for our primary growth groups (their holistic outreach), but also provide larger, all-church connects to the city and the world (i.e. city blessing & urban ministries, global missions, etc.)

The “process” or pathway within this model is “organically engineered,” seeking to shadow our context (75-year-old megachurch, city limits, various “people groups,” etc.), thus having a fluid-like evangelism strategy, where “side doors” are created in the corporate worship setting and equipping ministries, however the primary evangelism pathway will come through our growth groups (primarily the Home Adult Bible Fellowships).

Current Cautions:

  • Too confusing?
  • Reveals a primary “process” or pathway for our people?
  • Is it a model describing who we currently are or who we desire to be? (description vs. prescription)

As we continue to battle through these issues of our overall strategy in making disciples, it is exciting to know that no matter what we decide, God will be faithful in moving his people to bring forth the kingdom. At the same time, these are important discussions as we shepherds will be judged on how well we led our flock in ways that benefited our people’s commitment to Christ.

So we have to continue to grasp what model is best for us (in our context), showing our value for worship, community, & mission. Though we may desire more of a simplistic, integrated process…overall we want to be intentional of what we are doing with strong rationale…and that in fact may result in a somewhat chaordic, free-flowing process, allowing for a more “organically-engineered”, yet strategic environment.



~ by Dave Smith on September 17, 2008.

7 Responses to “The Battle for a Ministry Model”

  1. Is that really the primary purpose of the ABF – spiritual growth?

    I’ve been told over and over that the primary purpose is community…with a capital C.

    Not that the two are mutually exclusive…but I think if you were to poll my ABF as to it’s purpose, it would be community over growth by a large margin.

    I just don’t see the ABF system being structured, supported, or promoted in this way (i.e. a means to spiritual growth).

    A couple of observations…

    – Why the are the arrows pointed in? Point them out to NEO!
    – Why worship “experience” over ABF “community”? Are they not both communities?
    – You have grace and integrity in the 4 corners…I’m assuming these are your values…what about mission, community, service – X men (are we dropping these)?
    – Too confusing…I see no process.

  2. Great feedback Anthony.

    Philosophically and theologically, we would say that intimate community is the main vehicale in which spiritual growth occurs. I would say this is God’s design in which it occurs (obviously integrated with individual will and the Holy Spirit).

    I think if you begin to hear the announcements from Jeff and Dane coming more frequently, they are not only stressing the need for community (A/HABFs), but also the theological backbone as to why community it key for spiritual growth.

    In regards to your observations:
    -Yea, I guess the arrows show that their are open doors through either of those environments. Pretty attractional though. Your approach is more incarnational and may be a more active way of showing it for our people.
    -That issue about the worship community being over the ABF was mentioned too as a confusing element. In some ways it does show where i think we are heading as the pulpit becomes more elevated in our church’s future (DNA of senior leader).
    -Grace & Integrity are there to show the manner in which this process is conducted. The other values are the “active” core of the entire model…showing worship, community, and mission with each of the large environments & pursuits.
    -Yea, the confusion aspect is huge…and maybe that is because we are simply showing who we are, and not what we want to become. Maybe this is the first step in simply trying to make sense of what we are currently doing before we can then develop a model of where we want to truly go.

    In regards to “process”…yea, this is an interesting concept these days…short, quick, tidy processes that we move our people through. I like it and then question it at the same time. The whole balance between being organic and engineered…pedagogical and andragogical.

  3. D – I think that diagrams are often great tools in helping people understand or conceptualize how something works or how the parts relate to the whole. Past workplaces I have been at often felt a need to diagram everything and sometimes everthing didn’t lend itself well to a diagram and confusion would ensue – this may be the case here – I’d say do a different diagram or a consise paragraph.

  4. Yea…probably both: a different diagram and a more concise paragraph.

    I tend to complicate things, and that is why collaborative steps along the way in shaping this model is so important.

  5. I sure miss the X-men. Simple, and I’m not sure the diagram above adds anything that wasn’t part of the Worship-Community-Mission model.

    A huge issue here is that the history of The Chapel is that each and every environment is designed to be attractional. So, if it is the worship environment, it has historically been designed to be educational, promote an experience of corporate intimacy with God, and welcome newcomers. The ABF environment is meant to be educational, communal, and attractional. And the “side-door” support ministries… well, they just do whatever the heck they want to do, I guess, since most have very little staff involvment or oversight.

    My point is that it makes it difficult to diagram a “path” when there are so many entrance points. Each ministry has to accomplish it’s primary goal (community, teaching, or intimacy with God) while also remaining attractional.

    I’m not proposing that you change the way you do ABFs (there’s is a LOT of strength in the model) or the other avenues of ministry. But I think (and this is just one guy guessing out loud) that because your model has so many “in” points you should stop trying to diagram it with the use of arrows.

    That’s why I loved the X-men. It simply showed that to be growing as a believer, you needed to be involved in three key relationships. A growing, worshipping relationship with God, authentic community with other believers, and a missional, incarnational presence in the world around you. The X-men model didn’t care whether you first entered through the front door or side door, it just said, “Wherever you find yourself now is not as important as where you need to be, which is doing all THREE of these.”

    I also liked the X-men b/c they were side-by-side equals and did not elevate one experience or environment above the other. You needed to be doing all three to be maturing as a believer.

    Maturity, as you know, is a huge word in all of this and that goes back to the whole Willow study, etc. So many mistakenly believe that maturity is a result of knowledge, when in fact it’s a result of being a part of all three (worship, community, and mission) over a period of time.

    Wow, that’s a long response. Sorry. But dude, your diagram is really, really complicated.

  6. Hmmm. The X-Men. Interesting take on things.

    Great observations about various entry points…as I don’t see us coming down to just one, simplified entry point. (However the author of Simple Church is coming on Monday for Super Day, so who konws!) :>)

    You obviously hit the “educational” theme right on the head.

    If you think this was complicated…you should see our flow chart for our hiring process. Looks like a game of “Shoots and Ladders!”

  7. […] Following some suggestions for a clearly seen process and greater simplicity in regards to the last model, the latest example (above/click to enlarge) is up for target […]

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