Philosophy of Ministry

Philosophy of Ministry

High Pointe Church

Philosophy of Ministry

 Why Do We Need A Philosophy Of Ministry?

Without a Philosophy of Ministry our church can be poorly developed and not well grounded in the Scriptures. It could easily be nothing more than programs and structures, with little understanding of underlying biblical principles.

But all things should be done decently and in order. ()

 

I. The Starting Point of Our Ministry Is God, Not Human Activity () 

  1. God’s Part: God’s goals for the Christian are superhuman (; ; ). As a matter of fact, Christian growth is totally beyond the realm of human effort () for apart from Christ we can do nothing (). Ministry and spiritual growth are things that God does by means of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess.1:5; ).
  1. Human’s Part: God, in graciousness, has allowed human beings to have a part in the work and ministry of His kingdom (). Our part is to abide in Christ () and to rely on the Spirit to bring change (). We abide in Christ as we abide in the Word of God () and as we obey that which Christ tells us to do (; ).
  1. Implications for Ministry
    1. Realize that you are unqualified to minister to anyone () and that only God can bring growth in another’s life ().
    2. Recognize that God’s grace equips us for ministry () and that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us ().
    3. Determine to abide in Christ () by living in moment-by-moment dependence on God (. Commit yourself to the Word and prayer ().

 

II. The Guide for Our Ministry Is the Bible, Not Human Wisdom () 

  1. The inspiration of the Bible: Because the Bible is inspired by God (God breathed, ), it is the final authority for Christian faith and practice. It must be interpreted correctly () with the help of the Holy Spirit (; ).
  2. The Bible as God’s “message book”: Since the Bible is the Final authority for Christian faith, it serves as the ultimate judge as to what we believe as truth (; ); therefore, all experiences and circumstances must be interpreted in the light of what the Scriptures state (; ). By saying that the Bible is God’s message book, we are saying that it gives us the content or the “what” of the Christian life (what is the nature of God, the nature of man, etc.).

 

III. The Focus of Our Ministry Is People, Not Programs (; ) 

  1. The New Testament is our example of focusing on people first, not programs.
  1. God’s example was not a program but a giving of Himself. ()
  2. The apostles focused on individuals and gave of themselves following the pattern given to them by Jesus. ()
  1. “At the heart of the universe is a Person, not natural forces, a Creator who reveals Himself to persons, who became a human Person in Christ, who seeks to redeem estranged, sinful persons back to Himself. Essentially, the church is not a building, nor an institution, an organization, a program. Essentially the church is people…. It is natural to describe the local church in terms of it activities, its work, as an institution; but, everything the church does is for the sake of people. All programming and organization are means to the end of effecting changes in people. The focus must always be on people.”

(LeBar, Focus on People in Church Education, p.11)

 

IV. The Goal of Our Ministry Is Mature Christians, Not Simply Converts ()

The Westminster Confession states that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. We glorify God by developing people, both ourselves and others, who are becoming more like Christ ().

Chat by Todd Brandt

  1. Conversion (, , , )
  2. Foundation Stage (, , )
  3. Growth Stage ()
  4. Ministry Stage (, )

Our goal at High Pointe Church is the on going sanctification of the believer, which is the process by which a convert in Christ is continually being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.  This process is never ending in a Christian’s life until glorification which takes place at Christ’s return.  (, , )

 

V. The Environment for Our Ministry Is the Corporate Body, Not Individualism () 

We believe the Bible makes it clear that the church is God’s “vehicle” for bringing the good news of the gospel to the world and making disciples. (Mat 16:15-18, )

  1. Every member is a minister. The ministry is not just for the seminary-trained professional. God has gifted every Christian (; ) so that each might have a part in building up the body of Christ. Everyone is essential and unique in this process.
  2. God has called some to leadership. In the Bible, the leader is first of all a servant. A leader is committed to making others successful. A leader serves by pastoring the flock () and by equipping the saints for their ministries (). A leader must measure up to certain qualifications (; ). It seems clear that the biblical norm is for a multiplicity of leadership () and those decisions ideally should be made by the unanimous consent of those in leadership (). This requires teamwork and implies that the leadership should be committed to the same basic body of doctrine and philosophy of ministry ().
  3. Authority and submission: Because God has given leader to oversee the flock, those under their authority should submit to their leadership (; ; ). The only exception to this is when the leadership is calling the people to do something that would result in their clear disobedience of a biblical absolute.

 

VI. The Process of Our Ministry Is Spiritual Reproduction, Not Spiritual Addition () 

  1. Definitions
    1. Converts: People who have realized that because they were sinners, they were subject to the wrath of God. Seeing their desperate plight and their inability to save themselves, they placed their trust in the finished work of Christ.
  1. Mature Christians: People who realize that they still live in their sinful nature and that they cannot live the Christian life in their own strength. Realizing their desperate plight, they place their trust moment by moment in the finished work of Christ. They have also developed the necessary disciplines of the Christian life so that the lifelong process of maturing in Christlikeness can reasonably be expected to continue. They have become independently dependent.
  1. Spiritual Addition: The process of reproducing in others what the Spirit of God is doing in you so that they have become either converts or mature Christians.
  1. Spiritual Reproduction: The process of reproducing in others what the Spirit of God is doing in you and in turn enabling them to reproduce it in a third generation.
  1. How to emphasize spiritual reproduction
  1. By developing the personal vision to be involved in third generation discipleship. This comes from realizing the long-range impact of spiritual multiplication.
  2. By learning to think relationally. “As one begins to think relationally (mature Christians) rather than terminally (converts), he will become more and more aware of the fantastic power and life-changing potential which can be realized by the application of this truth. He will see how an individual who learns to think relationally can reach extremely high levels of commitment and accomplish tremendous feats of achievement. Secular men have taken this truth, which was intended to be used by the believer, and used it to make money or to gain a position of power.”

(Hartman & Sutherland, A Guidebook to Discipleship, p.34)

  1. By being willing to pay the cost of investing your life in individuals (; ). “There are certain demands that cannot be overlooked in such a ministry [of multiplication]. Perhaps the most important is the requirement that you spend much time with one person to build him. You are making a conscious choice to restrict your other ministries and stake your future productivity on the faithful ministries of those whom you build . . . . .To make the wrong selection is to submit yourself to a fruitless and unrewarding ministry.

(Kuhne, The Dynamics of Discipleship Training, p.21)

 

40 But all things should be done decently and in order. (ESV)

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (ESV)

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (ESV)

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (ESV)

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (ESV)

3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— (ESV)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (ESV)

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, (ESV)

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (ESV)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (ESV)

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)

24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. (ESV)

24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (ESV)

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (ESV)

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (ESV)

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (ESV)

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

Romans 12:6

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; (ESV)

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (ESV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (ESV)

But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (ESV)

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (ESV)

16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (ESV)

12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (ESV)

18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (ESV)

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (ESV)

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (ESV)

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (ESV)

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (ESV)

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (ESV)

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (ESV)

11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV)

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, (ESV)

10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— (ESV)

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (ESV)

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (ESV)

23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. (ESV)

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (ESV)

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (ESV)

18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (ESV)

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (ESV)

10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (ESV)

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (ESV)

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (ESV)

shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (ESV)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (ESV)

3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (ESV)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (ESV)

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (ESV)

23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, (ESV)

“Do two walk together,
unless they have agreed to meet? (ESV)

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (ESV)

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (ESV)

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (ESV)

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (ESV)

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. (ESV)

2:1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (ESV)