One size fits all. This phrase has become quite a source of aggravation for me, at least when it comes to buying hats. You see I have an unusually large head. So big, in fact, that it caused me a bit of trouble when I played little league baseball. When buying uniforms for a little league baseball team you get a dozen or so small, child sized hats for the kids and 3 or 4 bigger ones for the coaches. Well, my head was so big that I had to wear the coaches hat. Yep, true story. As you can imagine, my head is even bigger now. I can pretty much assure you that any hat that says, “one size fits all” will not fit me. If it doesn’t come in specific sizes, then it is very unlikely to fit my head.
One size fits all ministries. Ministry leaders are passionate about their ministries. They are passionate about the work that they see God doing in and through the ministries that they lead. This is a good thing. There is no work more worthy of passion. There is no work more rewarding or fulfilling. BUT, the mistake that many make is in assuming that the way they do ministry is THE ONLY WAY TO DO MINISTRY or at least the RIGHT WAY. If God has convicted them with something then they think everyone should be convicted with that same thing. If something has worked for them they think that everyone should do that thing. If they enjoy/like/prefer a certain way of doing things, then they think that everyone should. This simply isn’t true.
Paul wrote many letters. Paul wrote different letters to different churches. Why? Because these churches each had unique culture within their church and community. They had unique gifting within their body. They faced unique issues within their body and community. If there were one right way to do church Paul would have simply written one letter and had some scribes copy it and send it to all of the churches he ministered to. BUT, there wasn’t one right way to do church then and there isn’t today.
It’s hard enough being me, please don’t ask me to be you. God has made you wonderfully unique. The ministry you lead is reflection of this uniqueness. But, God also made me wonderfully unique. Instead of thinking that my ministry should look more like yours, lets celebrate our uniqueness and the wonderful Creator who made us this way.
“But this thing really works.” The Bible refers to the church as ONE BODY. It doesn’t talk about a bunch of little bodies. For this reason I think there is great value in learning from one another. If there is a ministry that is really reaching people with the gospel, or growing great disciples, or has great environments where kids are truly worshipping, then we need to look at what their doing. We need to take careful notes. BUT, we don’t need to copy them. God didn’t call you to be them, He called you to be you. If He wanted to you be them He would have made you them. What we need to look for when we study these other ministries is PRINCIPLES. Principles can cross denominational lines. Principles can be applied regardless of size. Principles take personality and individual gifting out of the mix. Principles allow you to take what you learn from one church and adapt it to work at yours.
You have your calling, I have mine. Ephesians 4:11 talks of the unique calling that God gives to different people. It would be wrong for the one called to be an apostle to think that everyone should be an apostle. It would be wrong for the one called to be a prophet to think that everyone should be a prophet. It would be wrong for the one called to be an evangelist or a pastor/teacher to think that everyone should be the same. This verse demonstrates the unique calling that God places on each of us. In the same way God gives us each unique burdens within the ministries and communities we serve. It would be wrong to think that the burden that God has given me should be your burden as well. Likewise, your God given burden is yours and not mine.
One body, many people. We are one body, but we are a body filled with many unique people. remember this before you talk down on someone who does things differently than you do them. The question for their ministry should be the same as it is for your, “Is this working?” If the answer is yes, then it doesn’t matter if your church does Sunday School or large group small group. It doesn’t matter if your church does a fall festival/Halloween alternative or not. “Is it working?” If it is, then praise God. If it is not, then we all need to take time to evaluate what we are doing and why. Just cause it worked, or didn’t work, in your church doesn’t guarantee that it will work or not in mine.
Celebrate the results, not the methods. At the end of the day the goal is to make disciples. That is what Jesus commissioned us to do. If souls are being saves, let’s celebrate. If people are growing spiritually, let’s celebrate. The methods are important, but they are far less important than the results. Let’s celebrate the results and stop focusing so much on the methods.Matt Norman
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