Twitter
YouTube
RSS
Facebook
ClickBank1
ClickBank1

Experience 8 – What ministries will help us live into God’s call? (Part 1)

These “prayer cluster experiencess” were used by small groups at http://pattersonavenuebaptist.com as an aid for guiding us to discern God’s call on our congregation.

GATHERING  (5 Minutes)

– Gathered in a circle, holding hands, allow each member the opportunity to offer a sentence prayer to God, asking for guidance in discerning his voice. 

BUILDING UNDERSTANDING THROUGH CONVERSATION (30 Minutes) 

In our several sessions we’ve been discerning God’s will around two important questions.

What is the unifying direction of God’s call?

Who is God calling & gifting us to serve?

As we discern God’s call in relation to these questions, we are prompted to ask another question, which shall be the topic of our next two gatherings. 

What ministries will help us live into God’s call?

The reason for any ministry in a church is to help it fulfill its mission.  Put another way:

1. A ministry must be aimed at facilitating in the development of more fully devoted followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ, (and)  
2. A ministry must also aid followers of Jesus toward the act of making more disciples.

In his book Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field, Paul Borden writes:

“…ministry must meet people’s needs and contribute to the growth and health of both individuals and the entire congregation.  In missional congregations, ministry that does not grow must either be changed or eliminated.

With these foundational thought in mind, there are several questions (with thanks to Paul Borden) that must be asked when considering any ministry venture.

1. How (if at all) does this ministry focus the church outward toward its mission field?
 
2. In what ways (if any) does this ministry reach new people?

3. Does this ministry reflect missionary thinking? 

4. Do the people leading this ministry understand the mission of the church and are they intentionally designing it to reach new people?

5. Is the ministry growing?

6. Is it time to eliminate this ministry in order to give room to something different that might help the church become a more missional congregation?

7. What might be changed about this ministry so that it might help the church become more missional?

In our next gathering we will open our imaginations before God in consideration of some NEW ministries that might need to be developed to fulfill our missional calling.  In this session, however, let’s consider some of the current ministries of our church! 

Be open to critical thought and prayer about each ministry listed.  Don’t be afraid to give an unpopular reply in order to avoid controversy.  Ask and answer the questions above honestly and openly.  Our aim is that we become more missional, even if that means sacrificing some of our most prized and protected activities.

Current Ministries

• Worship
• Sunday School
• Diaconal (Deacons)
• Youth Activities
• Vacation Bible School
• Christmas Party
• Senior Adult Activities/Sociables
• Wednesday Night Activities
• Committee/Team Structures
• Women’s Missionary Union
• Denominational Partnerships
• Others ______________________

DEEPENING OUR UNDERSTANDING THROUGH GOD’S WORD (15 Minutes)

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said: 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

In fact, a cursory reading of the gospel would reveal that the call to give up our wants, whims, and wishes, for the sake of more closely following Jesus as a disciple was the overarching theme of Jesus teaching to his followers. 
This is a powerful challenge for folks reared in a consumer culture such as ours – where meaning, purpose, and value are so often tied to what we produce, earn, achieve, and possess.  With this in mind, discuss the following questions:

1. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus in a consumer culture?

2. In what ways has the consumer changed the ministry of the church?

3. What would it mean for the ministry of our church if we gave up our consumer mindset?

4. How can we help people grow beyond the consumer mentality?

CONNECTING THROUGH PERSONAL APPLICATION  (15 Minutes)

The life and ministry of Jesus Christ was striking in the ways He engaged people.

Jesus often invited people to “come and see.”  He personally invited his disciples to follow him.  He open wide the gates of the Kingdom as he preached to masses of people, inviting them to join him on the journey towards the Kingdom.

As people responded to the invitation to “come and see,” he next challenged to “go and share.”  He spent time where people were – serving their needs and sharing the God News of the Kingdom.  He met people where they were, traveling from town to town to heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead, and preach the Kingdom.  And he instructed his followers to do the same.

Both the “come and see” and “go and share” principles are summed up in his call to Simon Peter, to whom Jesus said:

“Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1:17, TNIV)

Our church will better express the mind of Christ as it exercises both of these practices in reaching the world.  

There will be an attractional quality about our church that is both inviting and welcoming.  We will provide open doors where all types of people will find a safe place to come and see as they engage in the worship, teaching, fellowship, healing, and helping ministries of the church. 

Our church must also imitate Jesus by sending its people out—to meet the needs of people where they are and disciple them into relationship with Christ and ministry in the world.   The church must point people outside of the walls, to its unique mission field, where it can love, serve, and evangelize it community and the world.

The ministry of our church must be both attractional and externally focused.  To be one without the other would be like flying a plane with only one wing.  

Take five minutes of silent reflection as a cluster group and meditate on the following questions. 

• In what ways is your life like a single winged plane?
• Are you willing to allow God to transition you to fly high for the Kingdom?
• In what ways is our church like a singled winged plane?
• Are you willing to become a leader in helping the church to fly right and fly high?

PRAYING OUT LOUD FOR EACH OTHER AND FOR THE CONGREGATION (10 Minutes)

Allow each cluster group member the opportunity to pray allow that they, the other members of the group, and the entire church might develop properly focused ministries.  

COMMITTING TO ACTION

Each member is invited to discern and respond to one lifestyle change that can make them less consumerist in their approach to Christian discipleship.
 
RECORDING WHAT WE ARE HEARING FROM GOD AND EACH OTHER

Each cluster group is asked to appoint a “scribe” who will prepare a “group report” of what the group believed it heard (discerned) from God.  These reports should be submitted to the pastor immediately after your session and will be used by the “initiating leadership team” for consideration in the preparing the congregation’s “Future Story.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply