BALANCING MINISTRIES ON BIBLICAL PURPOSES
Acts 2 defines for us the core Biblical purposes for life and ministry. BBM from its founding has been based on these purposes. Our mission is to help churches equip believers to live and minister based on these purposes. Our four key purposes are Worship, Discipleship, Fellowship, and Evangelism.
We believe it is essential to be relevant in ministry without compromising Biblical truth. Culture cannot be ignored in ministry. Nor can culture become the controlling influence in ministry. Balancing our relationship to culture is dependent on understanding the Biblical purposes.
Building ministry on Biblical Purposes requires consideration of each purpose and how it relates to priorities. A balanced ministry means that you cannot focus on one area but must integrate all the purposes.
The following principles are based on the purposes.
All ministry must originate from Devotional Preparation. Worship is at the core of all ministry and prayer is an essential act in worship. Therefore to maintain the priority on God, not ourselves, we must focus on discovering His presence. It is God's plan and blessing we must seek not our own. If we seek to build our lives or ministries on a program it will be our plan not His and it will only have the strength we have. If ministry is built by sacrificing ourselves to Him then we will discover a power beyond ourselves.
The Biblical exhortation is clear, "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1).
Biblical Application (discipleship) gives the structure for ministry. One of the cultural struggles we face is the rejection of absolutes and the desire for "tolerance." A purpose based ministry must teach and apply biblical absolutes. The pulpit ministry cannot be so driven by culture that it neglects the clear message of Scripture. A present danger is to allow cultural sensitivity to distort the message.
The preaching and teaching must have balance between being relevant to our culture without compromise of truth. Application becomes a key in making truth relevant. Creativity in presentation is vital to communicating truth. Use of such things as powerpointtm projection, drama, and interaction has become a necessity because of our culture. The key to creativity is to be certain that it supports the message and does not detract from it.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof , for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (1 Timothy 3:16-17)
Relational Ministry (fellowship- ministry) is the biblical model for how we serve in the body of Christ. We live in a culture that has many means of communication. However, the result has been a decreasing of personalization and relationship building. Building ministry on relationships provides the church with an opportunity to meet the people's needs in every area: physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
A ministry built on relationships will develop "teams" based on understanding one another"s unique "shape." This will enable them to find their special "place" in ministry. "SHAPE" is the acrostic used by Saddleback Church and the Purpose Driven ministries. "PLACE" is the acrostic used by Place Ministries. They both refer to five basic characteristics of a personal profile. The five dimensions are: (1) Personality (2) Spiritual gifts (3) Natural abilities (4) Passion and (5) Life experiences. Assessing these five areas of our lives helps us in not only understanding where we best fit in ministry but also how we relate to others. (BBM conducts PLACE workshops for churches using multi-media teaching methods.)
Another reason of a relational ministry is that it helps us to be certain ministry is people centered not program centered. A specific development in relational ministry is that it can have a tremendous effect on how we operate in boards. The desire in membership and all church interaction is to follow the Apostles Paul's admonition to "beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Evangelical Determination is key to a balanced ministry. If we focus only on the first three principles the result will be an ingrown ministry. We need to be not only "evangelical" in our theology, but evangelistic in our practice.
A few years ago I wrote an article titled "The Great Obstacle and The Greatest Omission in the Church." The obstacle is broken relationships and the omission is evangelism. Many churches have a number of "outreach ministries" where they minister to the social needs of their community. We need to do this. Many churches also support missionaries around the world. What is missing is true "evangelism" which is the presentation of the gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).
A balanced ministry requires a determination to "do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5). Focusing on those outside the inner core of the church is vital to retaining balance. When a church focuses on those already inside the church the result is stagnation. Focusing on reaching those outside makes the church mission focused not self-focused.
Balancing your life and your ministry are dependent upon understanding and applying the biblical purposes.
Note: BBM does offer a complete workshop called "Balancing Life & Ministry on Biblical Purposes." The workshop explains the purposes and principles for leading a life and ministry based on the "Purpose Driven" series by Rick Warren. You can contact Gary Becker for scheduling or more information.