Questions, Cultures, Models and Assumptions

When you consider a ministry’s effectiveness, the questions you ask will be of more importance than any other factor.  Your questions must zero in on the heart of the matter, and not measure the outward appearances.  An example from scripture is Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler.  The man’s outward status wasn’t the issue. Neither was the amount of money he could give to the local church. Jesus put his finger on the pulse when he asked the man to give up everything to follow Him.  The amount wasn’t important. What was important was that the influential ruler abandon that which was his source of status in order to identify himself with Christ.

An example from the world outside of the church – If I were wearing rose colored glasses and you asked me what color the sky was on a given day, my answer would be affected by my point of view, those issues (in this example my glasses) to which I am attached. In this case, my answer would not be an accurate reflection of the sky’s true color.

All of this is to say – If you are engaged building a transformational church, ministry, or para-church organization, being able and willing to detach yourself from what is important to you, and ask questions that reach for the heart of a matter is central to the success of building a biblical, transformational, prevailing ministry.

I don’t believe that size or the amount of a church’s budget is the issue, or the measuring stick that is important to heaven.  I don’t believe that the particular denomination, or the worship style or theological paradigm is central to the Jesus’ goals. Yet how often do we read about these measuring sticks in contemporary Christian publications.  Like Christ, I believe we must look beyond those measuring sticks which are easily quantified, and like his interaction with the rich ruler we must abandon those things which identify us, and reach for the heart of the matter.

Here is the Heart of the Matter: A growing, transformational, prevailing ministry is Christ-centric, and is teaching, modeling, equipping and releasing its people to be Christ-centric influencers of their world.

When we look at Christ’s example, his encounter with different individuals was taylored to the person, and was meant to create in intimate encounter with Him.  He treated the rich ruler differently than the Pharisees, and Nicodemus who came to him at night seeking differently than the woman dragged to his feet in broad daylight.  Yet each encounter moved the person to engage Himself – personally, intimately, and uniquely based on the person’s own needs.

Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing a number of ministries which are exercising unique levels of influence in their own communities.  These ministries have been chosen because they fit the descriptions of “transformational, culturally influential, and Christ-centric.” They have not been chosen because they are unique, emergent, contemporary, traditional or matching any other easily defined measurement.

The Heart at Home:  Our call is to be Christ-centric, to engage the culture, and see it transformed into his image. (Matt 5.13-16) This process can only begin if we are transformed ourselves into His image, likeness, character, personality, taking his priorities on as our own.  (It may be in your ministry that this is your starting point) However, lessons on discipleship and holiness will be left for another day, and other blogs.

The next few interviews here in Ministry in Motion will be with ministries which have accepted this call, and having been transformed themselves are seeking to affect transformation of their members, and the community around them.  Stay tuned.  This conversation will get interesting.  And as always, I invite your feedback.

We are called to change the world. (Matt 28.18-20)

How effective is your ministry carrying out that goal? (2 Cor 5.17-21)

Ask this question of our Lord, and let him honestly reply with conviction, encouragement and instruction into your heart. (2 Tim 3.16-17)

Together, let’s look at others who are prevailing, and learn from their faithfulness. (Prov 14.18-20)

Tim Burns