I’ve been thinking about how local churches are organized, and I found myself troubled by the divisions that have been made for ministry. We create departments for the major areas of ministry (for instance, our church has "Worship, Community, and Mission"). It has taken me a few days to figure out what’s been troubling me. Here it is…
When I think of the “Church” (that is, a local manifestation of God’s People, not the “church universal”), I think of the people who are set apart for a purpose: to be God’s redemptive community on earth, especially in a specific locale.
This people are a Missional Community, living in the midst of people and loving and serving them with a view to be a redemptive blessing in their lives. Our redemptive work is the proclamation of the Gospel to our culture.
This “incarnational view” of church informs what we should be doing with our local congregations. each church is to be the incarnation of the body of Christ for their local community. The ministry is to be indigenous to this community, made up of people in this community to reach people in this community with the good news of Christ.
So, what are we supposed to do? We are to be a “Missional Community.” It boils down to this.
So, when we split up (in a very modernist way) our ministry into separate spheres (Worship, Community, Mission, etc.), we are pulling apart that which needs to be a cohesive unit.
I cannot imagine “community” without it being “missional.” I cannot imagine “mission” without it being by a community and for a community. And I cannot imagine “worship” outside the definition of Romans 12:1, where our lives are lived out sacrificially for others, as our “spiritual act of worship.”
In my view, the departments of the church need to serve the one purpose of Missional Community. This will ruffle some feathers in our churches, but the church’s departments all feed the overall purpose: to create and sustain a Missional Community.
The “Worship Department” is really just those in charge of the musical portion of our gathering time, where we come together to praise God.
The “Proclamation Department” is really just those in charge of preaching the gospel of joining in the Missional Community of the Church and instructing those involved in the Missional Community how to live out that calling.
The “Global Missions Department” extends our mission beyond our locality to those areas of the world that need our help to be reached.
The “Kids,” “Youth,” and “College” Departments proclaims the gospel of joining in God’s Mission to the younger generations, giving them purpose for their lives.
The “Adult Department” nurtures in adults the yearning to be Missional in Community.
The “Care Department” intervenes when members of the Missional Community are hurting.
But the overall goal is to create a cohesive ministry of people working together to live out the gospel in the midst of the people we are trying to reach. When we are a Missional Community working for the redemption of all things for the blessing of those in our cities, we are being the incarnation of Christ for their sakes.
We need to think about the implications of isolating up our ministry into these three separate divisions: Worship, Community, and Mission.
This post is mirrored at Missional Tribe.