A philosophy of ministry is a protection for a local church. It gives stability and strength for each of the ministries that function within the church. A biblical truth (doctrine) has functional implications in the lives of God’s people. A belief in a particular truth should manifest properly in the practical working of that truth. A philosophy of ministry is also the heart of a church pumping the proper nutrients throughout the body of that ministry. It also functions as a barometer that the elders of the church and leadership teams over a specific ministry are able to gauge the faithfulness in the ministry. Through a philosophy of ministry, the members of the church can have confidence in biblical faithfulness when sending children to their classes, teens in youth ministry, adults going home bible studies and to the Lord’s Day worship service. Members are also able to communicate to others desiring membership what a heartbeat of the church is and how it functions. These principles/convictions are parameters what I believe allows the church to take the whole counsel of God and keep them actively functioning within each ministry for steadfast faithfulness.
Mankind has no access to truth, knowledge of God and salvation without divine revelation. Knowledge about God and restoration to God can only come through God’s divine wisdom and will to reveal it. The Bible is God’s full revelation to man being:
Submitting to and trusting completely in the word of God by faith provides access to the revealed character of God and knowledge of who He is in order to believe in Him. Consequently, this ought to lead the church to have high view of God. A high view of scripture also affirms God’s authority over the church and guards man from personal ambition in constructing ministry according to man’s preferences.
God alone is worthy to be glorified and worshiped (Ex 20:3-4, Is 42:8, 48:11) as the Creator (Gen 1:1, John 1:1-3), Sustainer (Col 1:16-17), Redeemer (Eph 1:7, Col 1:14), therefore making Him Sovereign Lord and Judge over His Creation (Ps 75:7, 50:6, Is 33:22, Rev 20:11-15)
God exists in His person in perfect fellowship within the 3 persons of the Godhead i.e. Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Gen 1:26, Matt 28:19). They are each separate persons each having specific roles and functions according to the will of the Father (Ps. 115:3, Eph 1:11) working in perfect harmony to accomplish His will.
God in His nature is eternal (Deut 33:27, Is 40:28, Rev 1:8), omniscient (Is 40:13-14, Rom 11:33-36) omnipotent (Gen 1:3, Job 37:23, Ps 147:5) omnipresent (Ps 139:7-10, Pro 5:21, 15:3)
God in His character is holy (Ex 15:11, Lev 11:44, Is 6:3, 57:15) righteous (Deut 32:4, Ps 119:137, Ps 147:17), just (Job 34:12, Is 30:18, Rom 3:26) love (Rom 5:8, 1 John 4:16)
The church is the bride of Jesus Christ called to imitate the character of God (1 Co. 11:1. 1 Pet 1:15) to each other and the nations (Heb 10:23-25, Phil 2:15) exhibiting a transformed heart and life. A failure to keep a high view of God in ministry will lead to 1) a toleration of sin 2) man centered wisdom in decision making 3) lack of trust in decision making 4) manufacturing ministry “success” 5) compromising biblical truth due to the fear of man or love of man’s approval. An understanding of the character of God will align a proper perspective of man.
Man is a created being made from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7) wholly accountable to his Creator having the breath of all life in His hands (Matt 12:36, Job 12:10, Dan 5:23)
Due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:6-7), man was cursed and now is totally depraved by nature and from the moment of conception (Ps 51:5, Rom 3:10-12, Eph 2:1-3, Titus 3:1-3) being subject to death (3:19) and is unable and unwilling to save himself (1 Co 2:14) Unregenerate man is ruled by sinful appetites (Jer 17:9, Mark 7:21-23) held captive to the world’s system (1 John 2:15-17) which is ruled by Satan (Eph 2:2, 2 Co 4:4)
A low view of man in the church should produce a desire of utter dependence upon truth for man’s need of regeneration through the gospel (John 3:6-7, Rom 1:16-17) and continued Christian growth. Capitulation will result in evaluating ministry by the desire of man, elevating man’s preferences rather than through God and His word. Man-centered ministry is faithless being measured by man’s standards rather than God and His word.
The church consists of regenerate, born-again believers in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ being a visible, local manifestation of the global invisible people of God.
Jesus Christ alone is the master Architect and Builder of His church (Matt 16:18) and man does not have the ability or authority to innovate or manipulate the structure set in the New Testament (1&2 Tim, Titus)
The church is the bride of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:25-27), the body of Christ (1 Co 12:27, Eph 5:30) purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28)
The church exists to worship and glorify God in Christ (Eph 3:21), be the support and pillar of the truth (1 Tim 3:15), utilize spiritual gifts (1 Co 12, Rom 12:6-8, Eph 4:1-16, 1 Pet 4:10-11), equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12), create a humble, loving atmosphere for the “one another’s” and be a light in a lost and corrupt generation in order to proclaim the message of the gospel making disciples of every nation (Matt: 5:13-16, Matt 28:18-20, Phil 2:15)
The consistent witness of a New Testament believer is one who is a member of a local church under submission of affirmed, appointed elders leading the church using their gifts for the edification of the body (Acts 2:41, Rom 16:1-15,23)
Leadership in the church (elder/overseer) must be men of qualified character (1 Tim 3:1-7, Tit 1:5-9) with the ability to teach the word of God and apply it to the sheep instructively with great patience and care.
A plurality of elders work together as godly examples for the sheep (1 Pet 5:3) being accountable to God for the nurturing of each soul under their care (Heb 13:17), especially when they teach (Jas 3:1)
The elders are to lead in all the elements of why the church exists (previous point above) and be strategically teaching, discipling other faithful men for the health/strength/purity of the church and in preparation for the long-term stability of the ministry (2 Tim 2:2)
Christ has given to His church gifts to men to effectively lead the church (Eph 4:8-10) to promote the unity of the faith and the community of faith. This does not mean however, that women are not supremely valued and honored in the body life of the church (Gal 3:28). The women mature are called to nurture the younger women in the faith in discipleship relationships and through specific women’s ministries (Tit 2:3-5). Men have ultimately been tasked with the spiritual burden of leading and directing the church in faithfulness from this generation to the next generation. All of the instructions necessary are in and from the word of God (2 Tim 3:16-17)
God is a glorious and utterly authoritative preaching God (Gen 1:3-30, Ex 20:3-17
Jesus was sent for the purpose of preaching (Mark 1:14, Luke 4:43-44) and He fully explains God who sent Him (John 1:18)
In His perfect wisdom, He assigned specific men throughout history to communicate His message (preach) to His people (Heb 1:1-2)
God’s full revelation is in His word, therefore preaching must only consist of expounding on what He has said in His word (2 Tim 4:1-2)
Expository preaching is the relentless yet sober proclamation of God’s authoritative word accurately interpreted to give clarity from the original authors intended meaning to the original audience transferred to the contemporary audience in the same Spirit wrought timeless truths invoking renewed thinking, desires and motives about the worship and character of God propelling a Christ-centered, sanctified life (Ezra 7:10, Neh 8:8, 2 Tim 2:15)
Each teacher throughout the ministry may not have the same level of training as the Sr. pastor or the elders, but they are to take the same care of handling God’s word at their stage of maturity and will be held accountable to it
Topical preaching has its place within the preaching event in certain contexts (Sunday School, Home Bible Study, Conference) and for specific topics (marriage, parenting, sanctification, systematic theology etc.) but still must have the foundation of expositing the specific passages involved
The clear explanation of God’s word through exposition ought to be the steady diet for the congregation. An unstable pulpit will produce unstable people in handling God’s revealed word for growth in sanctification, theological understanding and gospel influence. Man does not have the freedom or authority to cleverly divert from the clear meaning of a text to cater to the “felt needs” or personal preferences of a congregation. The preacher preaches for God alone being a herald, a mouthpiece for the living God and will be held strictly accountable for re-preaching what God has already said.
The primary purpose for the gathering of the church is the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:13), considering how to stimulate one another toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
The primary purpose for the scattering of the church is to “make disciples” by “going” to all the nations (Matt 28:18-20) proclaiming the gospel of God through repentance and believing the gospel for salvation (Mark 1:14- 15)
The church is a safe haven of truth for who have been graciously saved and are taught the whole counsel of God (Act 20:27)
The pattern for missions in the New Testament is self-existing, self-sustaining, self-replicating churches…the New Testament Epistles were written to churches…Paul set out to missionary journey’s to plant local churches in areas that have not yet heard the gospel (Rom 15:20)
A clear understanding of the purpose of the church will be consistent with and help generate a clear understanding of the mission of the church. The scattering of the church is to produce converts and to gather them to a refinery of truth in a local church. Every believer is called to evangelize the lost being the means through which the local church is built both numerically for more workers and structurally for greater strength. A proper understanding of missions will protect a local church by using precious resources biblically for the glory of God in the nations and vetting missionaries in their intentions for going to the nations.