Philosophy of Ministry (from 2002)

I’m working through the FranklinCovey process, and clarifying my values. I have a head start on this because I spent a long time working on it a couple years back, and I was going to work off that document, but I can’t seem to find it.

I did however find my philosophy of ministry from one of my classes in 2002. I’m throwing it up here for the sake of posterity and so I don’t have to go digging for it someday. As much as I would like to, I’m not going to make any changes to it.

Philosophy of Ministry – 2002

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
– 1 Peter 2:9

Theological Foundations

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called… God chose the foolish things of the world… the weak things of the world… the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not… so that no one may boast before him.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Doctrine of the Call

No matter the terminology used to describe the different aspects of The Call, it will always be a mysterious work of The LORD, and His work alone. The church can talk about a Regular Call, a Divine Call, a Mediate Call, or an Immediate Call, but all are the work of the LORD. It is He who places an Immediate Call on a persons heart through His Spirit. It is He who works in a community of believers through His Spirit to extend a Mediate Call or Regular Call. Finally, it is He who mysteriously works out His good and perfect will on earth through His servants.

To be sure, it is not by any special merit or ability that God calls one into His service. And, in fact, His Word tells us that he works through the foolish, weak, and lowly things of the world. As one person puts it, “God does not call the equipped, but rather equips His called.”

I believe there is only one ministry given to the whole people of God: the ministry of reconciliation. I believe that God has called and equipped certain people to be leaders of His people and shepherds of His church. I believe He has given them the wisdom and ability to oversee the ministry of the church, but not a ministry for any one person to do alone because, “It was [God] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). I see the ministries of pastors, teachers, DCEs, DCOs, DPMs, and Lay leadership as separate aspects of the one ministry of the church.

I personally feel called to serve God in whatever way He wants to use me. At this time, I believe God is equipping me for a training and equipping ministry. He has instilled within me both a burning passion for the lost and a deep-seated desire to see the People of God active in His Mission to draw all people to Him. I desire more than anything to, ‘Seek and save the lost,’ but the Spirit will not allow me to do that ministry on my own. I have no idea what God has in store for me; I only know, “Here am I, send me!”

Key Theological Concepts

There are a few core values which shape my personal life as well as my ministry. These Biblical concepts tug on my heart and mind and speak directly to my soul, and I see them as the basis and foundation for my service to God.

Prayerful Dependence on God

I believe I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and that apart from Christ I can do nothing. I believe that prayer is How God changes the world and I believe that prayer is not a way to change God but rather a way for God to change us.

Priesthood of All Believers

I believe all Christians are called out of darkness and into the wonderful light to proclaim the Glory of Him who has saved them. I believe all Christians are called to have Christ as Lord of their lives and always be prepared to give an account for the hope they have in Christ Jesus. I believe that all people in the Body of Christ have been given gifts which prepare them for service to the LORD if only they are given an opportunity to serve.

Reaching the Lost

I believe Christ came to seek and save the Lost. I believe that God is being patient with us because He desires that all might be saved. I believe in meeting people where they are at and loving them enough not to leave them there.

Authentic Relationships

I believe God’s whole mission and purpose is to be in a relationship with us. I believe we, as Christians, are called to have Godly relationships which reflect God’s love, forgiveness, and compassion. I believe I cannot minister to a person unless I honestly care about that person.

Inspired—Biblical Relevance

I believe we are created in the image of a creative God. I believe that God’s Word is true yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I believe that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. I believe that God’s Word deserves to be applied to our lives in a way that is living, meaningful, and relevant.

My Personal Vision of Outreach Ministry
My Focus in Ministry

My prayer is that I will allow God to use me however, wherever, and whenever He wills. I could see myself serving as a DCO in a congregation for one to three years to train and equip a person or persons to serve the congregation on a long term basis. I could also see myself serving as a consultant who goes into congregations on a short-term basis to help them develop their mission and vision over a day, weekend, or month. Finally, I would enjoy being a college/seminary/training school professor after some years of experience in the field.

Leadership and Management in a Team Ministry

If I haven’t made it clear, I feel very strongly about the priesthood of all believers. I believe that a DCO is called to be in ministry to the lost, but also to train, equip, and disciple the other members of the body for mission ministry. This will involve working side-by-side with members of the congregation, intentionally mentoring a few key leaders, and having a dynamic ministry which does not depend on me, or any other specific person to continue. It will require helping people discover their unique gifts and giving them opportunity to utilize those gifts in outreach ministry.

The Strengths and Limitations of Program and Process

Programs and processes can be helpful to a ministry. The church must be willing to try new things and rely on the support and experience of others. However, programs and processes lend themselves to the, “That’s how we’ve always done it” disease. If a congregation can realize that God Word alone is the ultimate program and process they will be able to evaluate programs and processes based on God’s Word.

Essential Components of Outreach Strategy

Preparation
The ministry of preparation involves getting to know who we are as a congregation and getting to know the people around us. There are many ways to get to know the congregation and community including demographic studies and values inventories. We must know what we, as a congregation, have to offer and what the needs of the people are around us.

Presence
Once we know the needs of the people around the congregation, we must attempt to meet those needs by creating a caring presence within the community. This involves matching up the congregations gifts and strengths with the felt needs of the community.

Proclamation
Invitations without a party are meaningless. Presence without the proclamation of the Good News is also meaningless. The church must have a message to proclaim to the people she is ministering to, and that message must be Christ, and Him crucified. The members of the congregation need to be provided with ample training in how to greet visitors, how to be in ministry to their neighbors and co-workers as well as feel competent to explain the Gospel.

Persuasion
People who have felt our presence and heard the Good News of Jesus Christ proclaimed must have an opportunity to ask questions and explore the Christian Faith. The church must be prepared to answer their questions and provide a safe environment for people to explore the faith. This includes membership classes, support groups, small group Bible studies, etc.

Broadened Perspective
Finally, if a church is growing and people are being involved in ministry the church must be prepared for that growth or have the intention to plant a new church. Personally, I believe that every church should have the intention to someday plant a new church whether that be across the sea or across the highway.

The Obligations of a DCO in Professional Ministry
Relationship to Congregation and Synod

I’m not sure how I see this right now. I am currently working as the Director of Youth and Family ministry in an LCMS church where I am not Called, Commissioned, or anything other than hired. So I do not have any relationship with the Circuit, District, Synod, etc. I think things may look a little different when/if I am called into ministry in a congregation.

Continuing Education in Professional Ministry
Education will always be a part of my life. I hope to get a M.Div someday and possibly pursue colloquy through the LCMS. I also intend to get a Doctorate (or two) so that I could be able to teach on a college level. Professional development opportunities such as conferences, specific training/certification, as well as ‘extra-curricular’ learning are all very important to me, so I can easily see myself involved in education to some degree every ‘semester’ for the next 10-15 years.

Professional Ethics
I believe in honesty (even when it hurts).
I believe in confidentiality (even when it’s hard).
I believe in God’s Word alone (even when doctrine/tradition is ‘more important’).