So how do you ground your vision in the life of your church? Agree an upfront philosophy of ministry!
A philosophy of ministry is more important than we realise as leaders. I think this is often very much amiss in church leadership teams. Who believes that we should be involved in outreach? We all believe that. Who believes that we should witness? Right. Now your philosophy of ministry - that is, how you take those biblical values and apply them in church life, can take you in differing directions. So your philosophy could be, well we’re going to do door-to-door work - that’s one outworking of outreach. Others will say, ‘We don’t do it that way’ - that’s actually a philosophy. Another philosophy is to say - we believe in relationship and process evangelism, and so we use the Alpha course. Many of us would be there. At King’s we believe in outreach and witness; we do Alpha and our philosophy of implementation is centred on Thursday night when a large team of dedicated people run the Alpha course here. We’ve done it for over 10 years and seen great fruit – fantastic! It’s an approach to review from time to time.
Your Sunday meeting is also in your philosophy. Do you see it as being for believers and for teaching the saints? Even if you haven’t articulated it, Sunday preparation can be done as though that is what they are for. At King’s we haven’t gone to the point of running ‘seeker services’ which is what Bill Hybels did at Willow Creek, where they said ‘Sundays are for unbelievers and midweek meetings are for believers.’ That’s not where we are - but we would have numbers of Sundays which are designed for the needs of unbelievers, not for Christians and in this way our philosophy impacts how we do Sundays. I’m sure many churches do this - we just seem to do it a bit more than some.