Growing Programs vs. Equipping Disciples

Posted: August 31, 2011 in church, discipleship, leadership, missions, video

Check out this very helpful discussion regarding the tendency of churches (especially large churches) to call Christians to a “ministry” that really just boils down to helping staff programs within the church and for the church, thus stripping them of the time, energy, and training needed to be ministers of the Gospel within their specific spheres of influence (job, family, neighborhood, etc.).

Horton raises an interesting (and I think, important) point about how the special, prescribed offices of the Scriptures (elders and deacons) are actually being eroded in our desire to emphasize the “priesthood of all believers.”  That is to say, in encouraging people to be “ministers of the Gospel,” we largely present this service as ministry in the context of the gathered church, rather than in the world and among the lost (at least, I think that’s what he’s saying).

I also appreciate Chandler when he says that this is why his church strives to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible, maintaining their focus on equipping their saints for the work of ministry in the world.  Another reason why the concept of the “missional community” is so appealing…

HT: The Gospel Coalition

  1. Andrew K. says:

    This is good. I am glad this conversation occurred. Maybe not so much for the same reason you are (i.e. a plug for Missional Community); while I do not disagree, but on the flipside of the coin, liberating people through a gospel-centered and “traditional” view of church (i.e. coming to receive rather than give). Receive first, give second. It mirrors the indicative-imperative relationship in Scripture. God loves us, we love others. And, we do not feel obligated to give to people who are full (i.e. those who have received). We inevitably will give to people who are not full (i.e. who have not received; our community, neighborhood).

    • Matt Tully says:

      Thanks for the comment. You make a good point that we want people to understand that the Gospel (and consequently the Christian life) is fundamentally about receiving, not giving. We must maintain constant vigilance to not lose this precious truth. However, there is a ditch on the other side of the road as well.

      My concern is with the tendency to “boil down” all of our Gospel interaction, service, worship, fellowship, etc. to that one corporate meeting. We focus so much of our energy, preparation, planning, study, service, etc. on our corporate worship service – all in the name of using our gifts and abilities in service to God (which is good and right) – but then totally neglect (or at least seriously neglect) our calling to be God’s people the rest of the week. And often, the first thing that takes a “hit” is our evangelism. That’s why the concept of the missional community is so appealing to me.

      Not sure if you know this, but I’m at Wheaton now. Are you in the area?

  2. Andrew K. says:

    I knew you were at Wheaton. I am in Rockford IL doing an internship at a church.

    I hope the perception was not that the only Gospel interaction should be Sunday morning. And I don’t even disagree with the idea of Missional Community thinking. I was giving the flipside of the same coin.

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