Ministry model vs. business model — part 1

On Thursday (in my Coffee shop ponderings) I briefly mentioned something I am trying to do with my church council.  I am trying to make a move from a business meeting model to a ministry meeting model.  At the time I said I am still working out the specifics of this plan (which I still am) but I want to begin to think this through with you here.  Justin left a comment on that post saying that he is doing something similar with his council and was wondering how I was going to maintain what I started.  That is a very good question and one I hope I can answer here.  But how I want to begin this discussion is to define the two different models and then work from there. 

My initial thoughts on the definition of these two models stem from something I heard at our latest synod assembly (SW MN, ELCA).  The participants were asked to raise their hands if they agreed with the following statement:  The Church has a mission.  Most people raised their hands.  We were then told we were wrong.  Rather, the MISSION (of Christ) has a Church.  When the Church claims to have a mission we have a tendency to direct and lead the way rather than being lead by Christ; we quickly lose focus.

So the first part of my definition is this:
Business meeting model — The church has a mission
Ministry meeting model — The mission of Christ has a church

As church councils, we need to think in terms of what advances the mission of Christ.  Building projects are important along with paying bills, deciding what color carpet to put in or what bid to approve.  You could even argue that those things advance the mission of Christ, but how often does talk of the mission of Christ enter those conversations?  More often than not, we discuss what WE think is important…what will please most of the members.  Maybe, just maybe if Christ’s mission came into the conversation, the color of the carpet would not be important or maybe just maybe, new carpet would not even be an issue anymore.  Christ’s mission has a way of changing how we look at the world.

So…to begin to answer Justin’s question; how am I going to maintain what I stated:  I am going to type up the list of goals (ones that we see will advance the mission of Christ) and keep them in front of the council and the church.  We will discuss how we are doing with these goals each month before we do any business.  We will keep asking the question how does this advance the mission of Christ?  I will also publish these goals in the newsletter and get everyone thinking about them and asking the same question.  This is a small piece, but it is a beginning.

What are your thoughts?  Does your council have a “business” focus or “ministry” focus?  How do we move from a “business” to a “ministry” focus?

There is definitely more to discuss on this issue…


6 thoughts on “Ministry model vs. business model — part 1

  1. This is good. I’m glad to read this explanation of the definition. I’ve had “feelings” without good words about this topic.

    We will probably be starting a remodeling project at our church. The same questions need to be asked. But it isn’t just a bigger, newer, fancier building. It is also very much a question of taking care of what we’ve already built, which is heavily used and much in need of work to make it more energy efficient and, quite frankly, to update some structural things that should have been done 20 years ago.

    There are some specifics that I think will advance the Mission of Christ. But there may be cheaper ways to accomplish those goals as well.

    My husband and I struggled with this issue when were trying to decide how much money to commit to this building. We would not take from our regular church giving, but we would/will take from giving that would go to other corners of God’s Kingdom.

  2. David

    I begin my first call on Monday, with the amount of time I have spent at the church; some may say I have already started. One of the things that weighs heavy on my mind is the shape of my ministry model and how it will help to shape the future of our congregation. I like what you have to say about the mission of Christ having a church. This is something that we hammer on in our seminaries, but until we actually get into the parish it is merely a vision. I look forward to reading / discussing this with you here and perhaps via email as well.

  3. Pingback: Ministry model vs. Business model — Part 2 « The Heart of a Pastor

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