Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ministry Policy

I had to play "Pastor Policeman" the other day by enforcing the law.

Rule #1 "No one starts a ministry unless someone starts a ministry."

Here was the infraction, "Hey, do you have anything in place to get college students more connected with the community? We'd like to be apart of that."

It sounds harmless enough, but it has ruined churches all over.

Someone's brilliant ministry idea becomes the pastor's responsibility to initiate, launch, own, and administrate.

My response, "That's a great idea. I'd love for you to start that ministry. In fact, update me on how it's going in a couple weeks after you launch it."

People starting ministries that no one really starts is epidemic. This infraction alone has turned many (most?) pastors into activities coordinators on the Carnival Cruise liner, rather than the front line disciple-maker shepherds who lead, teach, pray and build the Kingdom.


Jase Rohde said...

Hey Mark, my brother is a worship pastor in the Quad-Cities and we talked about this same thing the other day. I completely agree and he said it's one of the reasons the church he was at before was dying. Thanks for bringing attention to this problem!

Anonymous said...

I understand what you're saying however I think you could have been more supportive. I think another reason potential ministries never get off the ground is because leadership fails to facilitate, encourage and provide basic oversight when opportunities arise. Even established ministries need this or risk losing direction and credibility.

I think a brainstorming session identifying possible leadership, a direction, and opportunities would go a long way. Then you could be hands off except for occasional oversight to make sure the ministry represents The Salt Company.

Eric Crawford said...

Mark, we had a ministry for that specifically while you were with Escape and 180. Myself and a more organized cohort planned, recruited and enacted the ministry. It was mainly a hey, let a college student watch your kid while you are at connection group, then you get to feed them, let them do their laundry and interact with them after connection group is over. It was a very huge success, but it just takes a lot of time and energy. Plus I never felt supported, encouraged or needed by the TSC staff in leading it. So the joy in leading it quickly left and so did I.

You have to realize that you as the leader of a large ministry with many para ministries attached to it, are responsible to make sure that the leaders of those particular ministries are cared for, loved, and feel wanted/needed by the larger ministry, and more importantly you and the staff. Besides being burnt out with 6+ years of TSC, I quit doing that in part because it wasn't fun anymore. Simply passing off the torch and telling someone else to do it, doesn't let you off the hook for making sure the it does get done, and that, like I said, the leaders feel beyond valued. And I guess a lot of these feelings come from the obvious difference in how connection group leaders are treated/loved/respected, and how some of these other "fringe" ministry leaders are treated. I got the impression that the connection group leaders were the important ones and therefore got most of the attention.

Just some thoughts from a past TSC student leader (over 5 years), who got to see and observe a lot of different things over those years.

Metropuritan Mark said...

This post was a little oversimplified.

Of course we (church staff folk) seek to brainstorm, support, facilitate, etc new ministries and their leaders.

My point is that what we want to avoid is a church where everyone wants us to make a program for their idea. A leadership based church (for lack of a better term) is, in my opinion, better than a program based church. People can easily fall into the "church as a country club" mentality. Or, as my friend Dusty calls these folks in his mega-church, "shareholders."

Eric, I appreciated your comments. I think we could stand to learn a lot from people who have burned out for lack of support.