Tapping Ministry Resources from the Entire Church Body.

I became a member at Trinity Church shortly after they moved from a campus in East Lansing to a larger location on the city’s south side. The congregation had outgrown their prior facility, and with no available undeveloped land at their suburban setting, the congregation purchased land, built a new building, and relocated. Church growth and relocation is not in itself noteworthy. What makes Trinity’s move unique is that they successfully completed this major upheaval without the leadership of a head pastor.

As discussed prior, Trinity has a spiritually strong congregation, which is built on an equally strong foundation provided from two large governing bodies: elders and deacons respectively. Because the church is filled with spiritually, relationally, and emotionally maturing believers, the monumental tasks associated with this kind of change occurred smoothly, and with minimal disruption of the church’s ministry activity.

In my interview with Jeff Schneider, he related that a small staff of elders stepped forward to engage the process, and shepherd the rest of the leaders in this direction. Anyone associated with a church building project knows the importance of strong leadership. Yet, rather than relying on a single person, Trinity church’s strength comes from an Eph. 4 view of church life and leadership.

Eph 4.2-13 (NIV)

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

God’s model for ministry and church life is that each believer should be raised up to engage their own spiritual gifts. When each of us accepts this charge, and a church leaders empower and equip believers to live according to his model, the church grows strong, and we move, as described in Ephesians, toward unity in the faith, maturity, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

What makes Trinity’s church relocation noteworthy in my book is that the peaceful and successful outcome is evidence of the spiritually mature congregation, which itself grew from a biblical model of discipleship –  decentralized leadership,  and a community, or body ministry paradigm. Jeff was more humble when he described the events. “It was a God thing.”


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