Fighting the urge to reinvent the wheel in ministry

By Lee Kemp 

Sometimes churches start a ministry that already exists in the community. Other times, a ministry stops working but continues to be the focus of many churches. Why? 

Are we competing with other churches? Are we just doing for the sake of doing?

People have asked me about Forefront’s ministry, like when our church will start a choir ministry or community groups. Sometimes I tell them, “We’re probably never going to have that…” or “We’re a church plant; we’re not there yet.”

For example, Forefront tried launching community groups early on because we wanted to be like other churches. We tried community groups without the right training, and then found ourselves having to step back and re-evaluate what we were doing.

We had a lot of new believers at the time, so instead of community groups we switched to discipleship groups. Eventually I think that it will grow into community groups, but we needed to develop leaders first. 

{ In church planting it is important to take time to honestly evaluate what needs to be changed or cancelled.}  

Forefront also does not plan to have a traditional student ministry. When I was involved in student ministry prior to Forefront, I found there are churches who have made that ministry an island unto itself. It’s not that Forefront doesn’t minister to youth, but we think they should be involved in our church alongside adults. Our worship should be relevant enough to pique their interest, and if I can’t bring that next generation into our church service there’s a big problem.

So people might ask, “What is there on Wednesday night for my student?” I’m ok with our students going to other Baptist churches instead of reinventing the wheel. I don’t need to have a better youth group than them. My job is to plug my students into ministry, disciple them and lead them to be on mission with Jesus. There should be ways for them to serve that they want to be involved in.

So questions Forefront asks are:

  • What is it that God has called us to focus on?
  • Why is there a need for our church to be planted?
  • How will we stay true and authentic in vision instead of duplicating other local churches?

We need to be secure in our missional commitment to Christ and not focused on operating and programming around just maintaining a stagnant core group of Christians.   

Sometimes I feel that we as pastors need to be reminded that our goal is to be a group of cooperating churches—not competing churches. 

What would happen if we desired the churches in our community to succeed even if it meant before our own church success? What would it look like if we just simply acknowledged each other’s strengths and united to support each other in those strengths? 

I don’t know if Arkansas is ready for the impact that would be unleashed if we began to foster a cooperative spirit instead of a competitive spirit! 

I will now step off of my soap box. 🙂 

 

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