Category: Grammatically-correct church

Is 100% Possible? (Grammatically Correct Church Series)


Some fellow pastors think I am crazy. I honestly expect that every church should have 100% of the believers in the congregations involved in active ministry. Is this unrealistic to expect that every person in my church who has trusted Christ for salvation would use their gifts and time to serve others? But I find that some pastors are settling for something far less (maybe 20%, 40%, or half their membership).

How can this be glorifying to God? Romans 12, Ephesians 4,  and 1 Corinthians 12 all proclaim that “each” believer has been gifted for ministry. Therefore, it is obviously God’s plan to involve every Christian.

What if most of your church was involved in life-changing ministry? What if 100% of the members were serving with a great joy and effectiveness? What would that look like? How could that happen.

Alan Nelson, in his book Me to We, believes that the pastor of a church plays a huge role in the percentage of people who serve. A pastor who has the attitude of an “emperor” will be the primary source of ministry and involve very few people (less that 20%). For a church to have 20-40% of the members in active ministry, a pastor is an “engager” who shares ministry with a committed core. A pastor who is an “encourager” will mobilize 40-60% of the members by preaching and teaching stewardship and gifts. Most pastors would see this level as adequate. But God has a greater plan.

Churches that excel in ministry involvement are led by pastors who can be described as an “equipper” or “empowerer.” The “equipper”  creates a process for involving people in ministry that can mobilize up to 80% of the members. But the “empowerer” is a minister who has embraced a God-given vision and refuses to settle for mediocrity. He has a ministry philosophy that is not centered around the himself but the people. Nelson writes, “The goal of discipleship is for God’s Word to become incarnate, to be fleshed out in a Christian’s life. Without service, people never really live out the Word. We confuse Bible knowledge with maturity.” (Nelson, 62-63)

Who can read the pages of the Bible and miss the commands of our Lord to serve? Can we claim to follow Christ and refuse to do His will? Can a ministry leader be considered faithful if he only trains a small, elite group of people in ministry?

Ministry is serious business. The stakes are high as the multitude of lives hang in the balance between heaven and hell. We must embrace ministry as God intended and equip believers for the task of the Great Commission- making disciples of our Lord.

This is the final post for this series. You can view the previous posts in this series by following the links below:

Haunted by a Fallacy 

Ministry: Whose Job is it Anyway?

The Cross Changed “the Ministry”


Coming Soon:

Interesting and Important Trends in Volunteer Ministry
A Book Review of Me to We by Alan Nelson


The Cross Changed “the Ministry” (The Grammatically Correct Church Series)


Prior to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, “the ministry” was delegated to a small percentage of people. These included Levites, Priests, Prophets, and a few other leaders in Israel. The cross of Christ, however, changed that. The ministry responsibility was expanded exponentially- to every believer in Christ.

Believers are a volunteer army that has been deployed for duty. A significant process occurs in the life of a soldier between enlistment and deployment. The soldier has to be trained and equipped for service. In the life of a believer, this process is called discipleship. Discipleship occurs as a person yields to the leading of the Holy Spirit in his life.

The work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is comprehensive. He begins drawing one toward God before salvation. He works during salvation, as the agent of regeneration. He is the primary means to a believer’s sanctification. The Holy Spirit also empowers and motivates the believer for service. Jesus’ last words before the Ascension were, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, HCSB)

This power enables every believer to serve and minister with miraculous potential. Unfortunately,  a consumer, “serve me” mentality has infiltrated the ranks and threats the effectiveness of the unit to train and deploy.  The expectation upon many pastors is a reversal back to Old Testament concepts of ministry. But we live on this side of the cross.

What if more believers would embrace the mission of God and submit to the power of God to change lives? How many people would it take to reach the world with the Gospel? 100, 1000, one million, 100 million?

Next Post- Embracing an “All In” Mentality in Ministry


Ministry: Whose Job is it Anyway? (The Grammatically-Correct Church)


By definition, ministry leaves an impact on others. Bill Hybels states, “Each volunteer we add means that one more Christ follower is discovering the thrill of serving, and one more spiritual need is being met.” (The Church Leader’s Answer Book, 364) When conducted God’s way, ministry is a real joy.

I wonder how many pastors believe their job is to be “the minister.” If there is a death in the church, someone should call “the minister.” Pastors are ordained into “the ministry.” I have a piece of paper on my wall that says I am an ordained “minister.” I am not downplaying the seriousness of the call God has placed on my life. Yet, I am wondering: Should every believer have a recognized document? Is there a believer who does not have a calling from God?

What if God intended for every believer to be a minister of the Gospel of Christ? Examine this evidence: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19, HCSB)

What if  God has in mind a much bigger plan for the Body of Christ than the activities of a small percentage of people we call “clergy?” Do Christians have to possess an official title to tell people about Christ, serve, make disciples, or assist people in need?

What if God never intended for there to be two classifications: clergy and laity? The greater the divide between paid staff and those in the pews, the potential for life-changing ministry decreases exponentially.

What if (some) pastors are robbing the members of the opportunity to serve by doing the ministry for the congregation? There would be grave consequences if a congregation expected the paid clergy to single-handedly “do the work of ministry.” Few people would share the Gospel, believers would busy their lives with other activities, and many would become disengaged from the assembly of believers. Then I look at the stats on the church in America. In the words of Scooby Doo, “Ruh Roh, Raggy.”

Next Post- How The Cross Changed “The Ministry”
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Question for Today’s Discussion: Do you believe the clergy-laity divide exists? Is dangerous? Is destructive?


Haunted by a Fallacy (The Grammatically-Correct Church)


“Church” is not a verb (something done to people), nor is it an adjective (a kind of formal clothes). It is a noun that describes neither a place nor a thing (a building or an organization). Likewise, ministry is neither a profession and ministers are not merely paid professions (and I am being paid to say this). In the quagmire of myth and misperception, God is still working. God is still calling His people (the Church) to do Kingdom work (the ministry) in a powerful way that brings Him glory and more people to salvation.
After surrendering to Christ as my Lord and Savior in November of 1992, I remember the Holy Spirit turning my life upside down. I immediately became involved in every Bible study offered on our college campus. This was not out of compulsion from others, but from a desire to know more about God. I also began traveling to local churches almost every weekend with our campus ministry team. This was a team that would minister to youth groups. Within four months of my conversion, I experienced my first mission trip to Washington D.C. to share the Gospel with homeless people. By the seventh month after my “second birth,” God had opened up a door of opportunity to lead a youth ministry in my home church. God wasted no time immersing my life into learning, serving, and reaching out to others.

God wants to turn every life “upside-down.” Therefore, I will be exploring the biblical foundation for ministry this week. I am no longer convinced that the “traditional” model for ministry is effective or honoring to Christ. When it comes to ministry in the local church, I have a haunting feeling that we have made some grave mistakes. What if God has something different in mind? What if most churches reflect man’s vision instead of God? What if the genuine desire of believers in Christ is being thwarted by a great fallacy in ministry leaders?

I do not believe I have overstated the problem potential. So, I ask you, dear reader, please return as I unpack these thought this week in a series I will call “The Grammatically-Correct Church.” You can subscribe on the sidebar link. Your comments are more than welcome (especially those who challenge my thinking, because I am still trying to figure all this out).

Follow One, Lead Others


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