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Church Structure

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7. Here’s another obvious thought: the structures we have in place ought to actually work. By “work” I mean that they are enabling the church to carry out lots of ministry activity without the leader’s direct oversight or involvement. The amount that even a “gifted” leader can do on her own, is small compared to what she and three key program-staff members can do, and that pales in comparison to what she, those staff and the nine additional volunteers can accomplish. A church does not have to be big to have great people doing amazing things by partnering with other great people. But a church of any size does have to have a leader who arranges things in such a way as to make such partnership the norm rather than the exception.

8. As Pentecostals we thrill with the understanding that Jesus gave ministry gifts to His church; we are each uniquely capacitated by Him and the Spirit to be particular parts of the Body. Some are prophets, others are exhorters; teachers, mercy-showers and givers sit alongside evangelists, servers and pastors. Paul explained that a church body builds itself up in love when each part is actively and efficiently working the way it is supposed to work. Good church structures recognize, celebrate and promote gift-mix diversity. Most likely, an exhorter will be more relational and less organized than a teacher if asked to head up the coffee ministry. And if one is passing the coffee baton to the other, some of the job is bound to get lost in the transition. The neat thing is that something new will grow back in its place.

9. Lastly, remember that all structure is merely artificial. There is no actual spiritual life in it at all. Little of eternity is affected by shifting service times a half hour backward, or by changing someone’s title from assistant to associate. The implications of that can sound almost the opposite of what I’ve been saying thus far. Structure is disposable—meant to be used rather than preserved; like an umbrella it works until it breaks, or until the sun comes out. Like clothes, they wear out. As fresh and new as our systems and structures begin, they all eventually require significant readjustment, and sometimes it’s best just to trash them and start over with new structures for new seasons.

Daniel McCullough

The Bible tells us that David, a man after God’s heart, led Israel with a combination of integrity and ingenuity; he was both spiritual and skillful (Psalm 79:72). That understanding will preach! And it will make us more effective preachers.



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Category: Ministry, Winter 2020

About the Author: Daniel A. Brown, PhD, planted The Coastlands, a church near Santa Cruz, California, serving as Senior Pastor for 22 years. Daniel has authored four books and numerous articles, but he is best-known for the sorts of resources that help local church leaders excel in their spiritual assignment. For more about Daniel Brown, see his ministry resources website: CTW. Facebook. Twitter.

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