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An Invisible Postmodern Pentecostal Church

In our efforts to develop a Pentecostal model of discipleship, we face many traditional barriers. Some of the obstacles that prevent fresh ideas and approaches to ministry models in our community can be seen in the following example. Our church has placed its emphasis on children’s ministries. Our children’s outreach ministry is one that is almost impossible to identify to the traditional church member. Because the structure of this ministry is so uncommon to the tradition of ministry development, it is overlooked as insignificant and sometimes even rebuked for being put side by side as a ministry. There are five elements to this ministry that are in contradiction with the traditional structure of ministry development. In these differences we can identify obstacles that hinder the development of fresh ideas and approaches to developing church wide ministries that meet the needs of our community.

The first obstacle that makes this ministry unfamiliar is the time in which these children are ministered to. These children gather together Monday through Friday during the middle of the day. From the traditional perspective church is held on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night along with revival services and prayer. Services that are held during the midweek, and especially during the day, are viewed as only supplemental meetings but not to take the place of a Sunday service. During our weekly meetings, which are comprised of 80% unchurched souls who have never been to a Sunday service; we have bible devotions, bible studies, prayer, praise and worship, and preaching. There are many different kinds of services provided for this group that they would never receive because they do not attend a traditional church meeting. There is even a full time proficient children’s pastor who oversees the ministry to these children.

The second element that diminishes its ministry role is the age of those being ministered to. When you ask someone what kind of church they have you usually get descriptions such as numerical growth, worship styles, preaching styles, income level of the people, tithing record of the church and the demeanor of the people. The concept of having a church that is composed entirely of children is a hard model to accept. Even as the attendance of the children’s outreach ministry is over 200 children many people have a difficult time viewing it as a respectable ministry.

The third element that hides its role in ministry is that the acts of ministry are not in view of the religious community. Since the bulk of the church ministry is on Sunday, the large majority of congregational members are not aware of the progress of many other ministries. This places the importance of this ministry out of sight and out of mind.

The fourth element shows how our church government system is dated. The reports that measure a churches progress reflect attendance on traditional meeting times only. The fact that there is no consideration for ministries outside of the traditional meeting times reflects where the emphasis is placed for church growth. After two years of trying to get these children on a Sunday service and failing, we decided to take church to them during the week. Consequently, they are never accounted for in our governmental reporting system. This form of accountability actually funnels a minister’s efforts to fulfill the means by which they are measured.

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Category: Ministry

About the Author: David Redden, D.Min (Pentecostal Theological Seminary), M.Div. (Church of God Theological Seminary), is a US Army chaplain with years of pastoral experience in crisis counseling, teaching, and preaching. LinkedIn

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