The Four Pillars of Ministry
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about balance in the ministry of the church. Maybe it’s because as I age, I see areas where I, or the churches I have served, were out of balance. I think I have found it—the four pillars of ministry. Like a great building, the four pillars must be equal at the four corners of the church. However, there is a logical progression, moving from the knowledge of God to human relationships and activities.
The First Pillar: Right Faith
Sound doctrine, based on Scripture, centered on Christ, certain and settled on all essential truths of the faith. The starting place is always God. He wants us to know Him rightly. Doctrine matters because doctrine is all about who God is, what He is like, what He does and what He commands us to do.
Are you well grounded in Scripture? Are you constant in your study of Scripture? Is your understanding of what we believe and why we believe it growing?
The Second Pillar: Right Devotion
Passionate worship and personal devotion to God expressed in corporate worship, attention to Scripture, daily prayer and commitment to continuous spiritual growth. God calls us to have more than right faith. He wants us to have a vital, passionate relationship with Him. Pharisees knew plenty of doctrine, and it was 90% correct, but Jesus said their hearts were far from God.
What’s you’re spiritual temperature? What’s your quiet time with God like? Are you able to worship with passion and abandon? Are you closer to God today than you were this time last year?
The Third Pillar: Right Relationships
Speaking the truth in love, compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient; generous in forgiveness, brimming over in love. We turn that same commitment to love God toward one another. Jesus said that our love for one another would be the evidence to the world that we are His disciples.
My friend Steve Robbins (www.robbinsnestministries.org) once did a survey at a church conference asking the question, “What’s holding your church back from its potential?” His discovery: BMWs! By that he meant “busy-ness, meanness and worldliness.” All these are relationship killers: when we’re too busy to develop and cultivate relationships, when we are downright mean and rude to one another, and when are allow the world to contaminate our hearts.
How high up are relationships in the body of Christ on your priorities? While all your efforts may not be reciprocated, are you making an effort to develop, deepen, and repair relationships?
The Fourth Pillar: Right Practices
The application of the best practices in administration, ministry and outreach throughout the ministry of the church. Most of us have heard the term “best practices” from our workplace. There are “best practices” when it comes to ministry as well: there’s a right way to evangelize, to connect people, to disciple people, to encourage stewardship, and so forth. But “right practices” come last. You can’t lead with best practices unless right faith, right devotion and right relationships are in place.
Are you striving to do what you do better than you’ve done it before? Are you striving to be a learner, a grower and goer than strives to do your “utmost for His highness”? Do you seek out opportunities to grow in service?
The church is made up of people. In 1 Peter 2:5, Peter says that we are “living stones…being built into a spiritual house.” (Paul says much the same thing in Ephesians 2:19-22).
How balanced are you as a stone in the house of God? Where do you need to grow and change? Which corner—faith, devotion, relationships and practices—needs to be shored up? Are you willing to work on it?