Building A Fruitful Ministry

Building A Fruitful Ministry

Posted on 15. Aug, 2011 by in Re-Imaging Church, Kingdom Notes eZine

Contrary to my present appearance, as a young person I was quite athletic. I enjoyed baseball, fastpitch softball, football (American style) and track. One season our fastpitch team needed more players. I invited a co-worker, who always spoke of his love of racquetball and seemed athletic, to try out. I was totally embarrassed. This individual could not catch, hit or run.

At a later date, this same person invited me to play racquetball. I gladly accepted, after all I had seen him play softball, NO PROBLEM! While preparing to play, I watched him putting on kneepads and a nylon jacket. I thought to myself: “What next, a helmet?” Well, I found out the equipment was not for protection – but performance.  I was amazed as he would slide on his knees for shots along the wall, flip on his back and be upright before I could return his volley. He “smoked” me (our term of the late 70’s). What was the difference? He was gifted at one sport, the other he obviously was not.

How well this illustration fits many churches of today.  We create programs with positions, and then we seek to assemble ministry teams based on the needs of our programs. Many times individuals are asked to participate in areas that may not allow them to excel in their gifting. Unfortunately, this results in a lack of fruitfulness, which produces frustration and a high turnover of individuals.

There is a series I have adapted and teach on ministry foundations (1). One of the strengths of this series is that it first reveals to us how many traditional churches develop their ministries. The steps are similar to the following:

  • First, the leadership determines there is a need requiring some action – reach the homeless lets say.
  • Second, they develop a program – this is how we will do it.
  • Third, they create a missions statement as to why and what they are doing to motivate people.
  • Fourth, they then begin disseminating a vision – this is how this is part of the kingdom, what God wants to do etc.
  • Finally, they go to prayer and ask God to bless what they have created.

Now, I am not saying these things are wrong. But I wonder as to the ultimate effectiveness of them. How many times do churches and individuals start something, yet in the long run it is not very productive? It becomes a challenge to motivate people to get involved. It can ultimately become a source of frustration for leadership. Yet God does want us to minister and be fruitful.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul compares the body of Christ (the church) to the human body. He tells us we are many members (parts) each being different, yet we are all one body. Since we are each different, we have different gifting. For our human body to function correctly, each part must perform the purpose it was created for. If we have a part not performing its job, we call it disease or sickness.

When the church structures its ministries according to the giftings God has placed in the body (not a program because we feel in it is necessary) we find that the members will be fruitful in their ministries and if fruitful they will be fulfilled.

Years ago, in the first church I pastored, I sought the Lord to see how we were to impact our city. His response was children’s and youth ministry. We spent a large amount of our resources and people on developing these ministries. When the Lord moved us on, over 50% of the church was under the age of 18. The last time I spoke with my successor, he reported they would have in mid-week bible study almost as many children as was the total Sunday attendance prior to my leaving.  All this in a small town of 10,000 people, with at least 23 other churches.

There were times during my pastorate, in my ignorance, I used to get frustrated about not having other ministries. There was a prison in town – yet we did not have a prison ministry.  We had a small women’s ministry and no real men’s ministry. It was not till many years later I came to realize, that we built a ministry based on the giftings and passion God had placed in the local body.

The discovery process we went through and what is now taught is summarized as follows below, obviously there is much elaboration on each that can be done.

  • First, begin with spiritual formation – get a connection with the King and His kingdom.
  • Second, from this spiritual formation, let Him give you a Kingdom vision. A big “spiritual” picture.
  • Third, from this big picture, let Him give you the mission He has for you or the local church – notice His Idea, not ours.
  • Fourthly, now develop the ministry to fulfill the mission He has given you.
  • Finally, you should see your actions much more fruitful because the source is the King and His kingdom.

When we develop a ministry and initiate the actions based on this process,  because it is His idea, He will bless and we will be fruitful.

May I suggest, if you are frustrated in your ministry or have a ministry that is not as effective as you believe it should be, take some time to evaluate it. Was it initiated because it was a good idea or something you think every church should have? Or was it Jesus’ idea? If it was yours, go back to Him with a clean agenda and see what he will have you to do. If it was His idea, double check and see if you need to make any adjustments, and then be faithful in the mission and vision He has given you.

till next time
martin

(1) Developing A Passion Based Ministry ~ The most effective ministry is one based on our spiritual giftings a passion derived from a specific Kingdom vision. This series reveals the process of spiritual formation and empowerment of a passion based ministry.

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12 Responses to “Building A Fruitful Ministry”

  1. Donnie Gillum

    16. Aug, 2011

    Good article, Brother … and timely … has springboarded an idea or two I may bring up in our ministers’ meeting tonight.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Vince DeMuth

    16. Aug, 2011

    Great stuff brother! Passed this on to some men in the KY district. We will see what happens. Your ministry would be such a blessing here.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Gail Crenshaw

    17. Aug, 2011

    Pastor Schmaltz,

    Your article is so true, if only we would start everything with a spirtiual mindset. Will pass your website on to my co-worker who is assisting his Pastor with starting their ministry. Do you record any CD’s? Miss you and Sis Schmaltz deeply.

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      17. Aug, 2011

      Thanks Gail. Unfortunately I do not have good quality cd’s. Sometimes I get copies when I preach out, most times not. We miss you guys too!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Nana Attobrah

    20. Aug, 2011

    Straight to the point Martin. These are nuggets that I’m going to show and talk about in our church. Programs started with seemingly fervor and abandoned, over and over and over. Now I see my pastor and the ministers all frustrated. Attendance in the church diminishing, and they have no antidote. Thank God, I will suggest and teach what I’ve learned from your article. God bless you.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Martin Norman

    20. Aug, 2011

    I appreciate the vision God gives you and your obedience with sharing it. I’m not considered “leadership” in church and would rather it be that way simply because people sometimes tend to think they should only see “leadership” for council(not saying they shouldn’t). I know I’m still growing and will forever seek God’s purpose for me. Although it can be frustrating, I feel like my current position in church is where I’m supposed to be. It’s simple and personally I feel its necessary. I’m constantly asking myself, if I’m being effective, however I have to believe and trust that the Lord is doing the work even if I may not see it at times. Thank You for your words and have a wonderful day!

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      20. Aug, 2011

      Martin, in the traditional style church, leadership is seen as originating from titled positions, filled by those who are seemingly “called” for “special” purposes. In fact, leadership is influence, with or without a position. Influence happens when others see a particular lifestyle they want to emulate, ie. the hip hop/rap scene. In the ekklesia (church) it is those who are choosing to live a missional (sent, apostolic) and incarnational (being like Jesus) life that will attract the attention of the hungry and stir within them a desire to follow. That, brother is influence or leadership!

      You may not have a “position” in an ecclesiastical structure, but I know you, and you have influence in the lives of those outside of the structure. Keep going and being, Jesus will place you around those He knows you can influence. Be blessed.

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  6. Jessica Norman

    20. Aug, 2011

    This could not ring more true! So many times I have been “nudged” to take on things that have left me wanting to pull my hair out. While I might have a passion and/or gifting for certain things, that doesn’t mean that others do! And while there are obvious needs for things, there are some things that I just do not have a gifting, or a calling, or a passion, or the patience for! (-;

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      20. Aug, 2011

      Jessica, that is the frustration that results. If it happens too often, people just don’t get involved any longer. IMHO, many times you will find them using their giftings outside the kingdom: they seek a place of expression because it is how God has made them. Can you imagine, a Clydesdale running the Kentucky derby? Or a thoroughbred racer pulling the Budweiser wagon? Wish i would have recognized this sooner.

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