categories: Uncategorized, accountability, church, community, relationships, working together
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October 5th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

29 comments (+ Add)

Ministries From the Church

I’m so thankful many Christians are becoming more missionally minded. This week alone, I’ve had people ask me (or our church) to support:

  • A group that hands out hotdogs to the homeless.
  • A group building homes in Honduras.
  • A local ministry that helps drug addicts get jobs.
  • A few guys building long lasting pumps to help get drinking water to people without it.
  • A girl ministering in an orphanage in Mexico.
  • A Christian radio station.

Each ministry is led by passionate believers hoping to make a difference. I’m sincerely thankful for each one.

But sadly, none of these ministries were an extension of any church. In fact, when I asked each one what church they were involved with, several didn’t have a church home.

Instead of branching off to do a new and separate ministry, I love when ministries are supported by a church.

A ministry sent from a church has some built in advantages that include:

  • Potentially better financial support.
  • Accountability.
  • Engagement of people from the church.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d love to see the church more involved in creating, blessing, and sending great ministries than seeing them birthed outside of the church.

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there are a total of29
  1. 1Bill
    Oct 5, 2009 at 6:12 am

    How does lanching new ministries from the church fit with the keeping it simple and the 5 things that LifeChurch does that u mentioned in “iT” ?

  2. Oct 5, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I have similar thoughts as you on this one. When I look at as in supporting a ministry financially I want to know that there is accountablitity. I want to see that it is something that has accountablity in direction as well. I think church supported ministries are more stable all around. I do think though that those who lead these ministries are good people who are passionate for God.

  3. Oct 5, 2009 at 7:57 am

    I believe as all of you do that the Church is the hope of the world and when the church births ministries to reach people it’s a powerful combination. There’s something awesome that takes place when the Church digs wells or feeds the homeless. When the church puts hands and feet to their mission great things happen.

    I think there are two important observations that could be contributing to ministries beginning outside of the church.

    Is the Church willing to birth ministries that are God directed and if not why not? I say God directed because we cannot do it all.

    Are there people that are stepping outside of the Church to birth these ministries because they are impatient or because they are not willing to following leadership.? If so, why?

    I am concerned that some new ministries are started out of turmoil and not in God’s timing. There are times to slow down and wait on God. Just my caution.

  4. Oct 5, 2009 at 8:49 am

    A few weeks back Craig ended the message with a challenge to fill in the blank with something like “why are you here and whats the thing God has for you to do”? One lady spoke out loud during the response time and said “stop people for driving drunk”. It’s very deep and personal to her and I want the church to help her flesh out what that could look like. Another guy, who is a detective, wants to create a ministry to help teens and families understand the reality of online predators. He is a detective and deals with this stuff every day. I want the church to help both these folks in any way we can.
    I am beginning to understand the value of doing ministry in five areas/simple church and the latitude it gives our church when an opportunity comes to do something that no one else is doing. Because our schedule has space and our budget leaves room for things we could not imagine at the time of budget creation, we have time and resources to see God at work and join Him.
    I am not saying that we support and fund every idea that comes from within the church. But when it is obvious that God is at work and people are responding, its nice to have the freedom to go with it.

  5. Oct 5, 2009 at 9:38 am

    One of the things that we value is being able to partner with ministries from other churches. We recognize that we’re a relatively small church with limited resources so we try to find other churches in the area that already has that ministry and then partner with them.

    This is one way we can remain focused on what God has called us to, and one way we can help other ministries succeed.

  6. Oct 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I agree with what you said Craig.
    One thing that does confuse me a little bit. I have heard a lot of guys talk about simplifying and cutting back on ministries. I have heard several “leadership” advisers talk about having less cluttered programs.
    So if a church is following this mindset and you bring an idea to them, what are they suppose to do? They are trying to fall in line with doing 5 things well instead of doing 25 things Okay. What about the person that has a big passion for the homeless and wants the church to get involved, but the church turns them away because they do not want to add another ministry?

    Like I said, I am in complete agreement with you on this idea and think that we need to connect with the church, but what if the church does not want to connect with you?

  7. Oct 5, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Kyle… good question. One that I have thought through and here is where I am at.

    I would say that if a church does not sense God leading them to partner with a particular ministry then that person may need to connect with a church that has that passion. Or the person with the desire for that ministry could wait and pray to see if God changes things at their church.

    I think too often we see people who have great passion for a new ministry but they run ahead too fast and end up creating a lot hurt along the way as they run over people and leaders. If God is in it he will provide the way.

    We do a great disservice to people by just saying yes, rather than knowing if God wants this ministry to be part of church. In addition a quick yes sometimes takes away what God wants to do over time as he works in that persons life. It’s a lot harder to pastor people through this than to just say sure let’s start this new ministry.

  8. Oct 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Pay close attention to Craig’s last statement: “…I’d love to see the church more involved in creating, blessing, and SENDING great ministries than seeing them BIRTHED outside of the church (emphasis mine).”

    He’s not talking about adding another ministry to the church program; he’s talking about birthing, or sending out, ministers into ministry. When a church births, or plants, a new church it becomes something separate from the original church, but that is not the same as a church planter going off on his/her own to start a church. The same holds true for more targeted forms of ministry. Hopefully that clarifies things.

  9. Oct 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    @Tom E Snyder and @Brando Duff
    Both great points and thanks for the responses and answers.

    One more question for you….
    What happens when your passions don’t align? Is it as simple as finding another church? or does it come down to being patient and prayer?

  10. Oct 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Great points everyone, butmy question is this: what happens when your own church isnt willing to support the new ministry even when it’s birthed right there? In my experience this is more than not the case which is totally sad and therefore we have no option but to go looking elsewhere for support and come across as not belonging to a church… that’s a really tough place to end up in!

  11. Oct 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    On a side note… I fellowship with Lifechurch online and I live in Austrlaia. We’ve just moved over to daylight savings time which puts online services and hour later. Can anyone tell me if church online is currently on USA daylight savings time and if/when they would be going back to standard time as this will make services 2 hours later than they currently are.

    Also, 2 hours later makes it extremely difficult to fellowship online as services are now either in the middle of the work day or the middle of the night over here… any chance of a service still being at about 7:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time?

    Cheers

  12. Oct 5, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Kyle I would say it depends on the church. If the church is going through transition you may have a good number of people that have not yet bought into the new vision and therefore more ministry ideas that don’t line up with the new vision. If the church has a strong vision and has been on track for awhile then most of the people are supporters and the ministry ideas tend to line up more with the church and vision. That’s my experience.

  13. Oct 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Oooh I agree with this!

    Great..I love the unity/One-Kingdom mindedness you have and are teaching Craig!

  14. Oct 5, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Andrew, US is on daylight saving time and will switch back on Nov. 1. Church Online has MANY experiences all week long–maybe one will work for you. If not contact them through the website; they add new ones regularly.

  15. 15Avery
    Oct 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    This is a great post…

    I would love a few suggestions of churches “sending” in the OKC Metro area…

    I love bringing people into a church home… but what I love more, is what I have learned is the heart and soul of Jesus ministry… sending…

    Hope for a response…!!!

  16. Oct 6, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Avery, I live in OKC so I can answer a couple for you.

    From what I know, LifeChurch.tv, VictoryChurch.tv, and JourneyChurch.tv (these aren’t all “metro” OKC”) are sending out!

  17. 17Luke
    Oct 6, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Someone who is a believer is the church so how can anyone say these ministries are not coming from the church. The day believers just go out and be the church is a day we should celebrate.

  18. 18Terese
    Oct 6, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I think if we all could grasp that WE are the church and God has called us to minister to our neighbors, then we wouldn’t feel that the corporate church body had to fund or even start everything. Everything doesn’t have to be a huge program. Sometimes God is just asking us to do something and we want to turn it into a program or a “ministry” even though it is a revelation God has given to us as an individual or family.

  19. 19Jeremy
    Oct 6, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Craig…thank you! I could not agree with you more!!!!

  20. Oct 6, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Sadly Craig, the local church is a little slow on this one because LC is so focused on what will take care of the LC (it’s members, ministries, and mortgage). I am a Local Missions pastor at a 3,000+ attended church and I believe one way to shift this gap between the Local Church and “Parachurch ministries” is JOB SHARING.
    Many of the PM’s don’t have the staff support, office supplies, fiscal accountability, etc that Local Churches have. Many Local Churches could use the additional staff support.
    There’s a possible partnership here that goes beyond $$$ and volunteers. The LC can process funds, give office space and share supplies. The PM gives another office staff supporter, local missions outreach, likely staff diversity, leadership, and more.
    I haven’t found any churches, yet, that are partnered in this way. I just might have to start one ;)

  21. Oct 6, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I think it’s awesome how people on here can disagree in a loving way.

    It’s great getting multiple sides!

    I do agree with you , but I believe Craig was talking about the “corporate church” being a part of all other ministries. And I do have to agree…why not join together?

  22. 22Kevin Thomas
    Oct 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Hey Everyone

    Great Comments: I am reinventing our church at present as I prepare to take over as senior pastor in Feb 2010 & we have followed “IT” Ps Craig book which is LifeChurch’s line of thinking on focusing down to be narrow, excellent & effective at a few things they are uniquely gifted & called to rather than be mediocre & average at a whole lot of things & lack spiritual impact. However, as I embrace what I call the FAB 5 concept I approach it in this way so I have the flexibility to not miss something that maybe God is birthing in someone else.

    If someone has something that they feel very passionate about - then I have them read Ps Wayne Cordeiro’s book called Doing Church As a Team which covers the concept of fractals! If this person can them build a fractal & vision cast this ministry to a team of people outside of themselves so that we have a sustainable core then I am open to endorse & support the ministry. The truth is if they cant sell the vision to a group of 4 people who in turn can cast the vision & inspire their own group of 4 people, the fact is the ministry will not be able to sustain itself & it will fall back onto the vocational staff which depletes our effectiveness in doing ministry well!

    So I cant speak for Ps Craig but my thinking is I am open to seeing other ministries rise up outside of the FAB 5 areas as long as they are lead well by a passionate gifted leader who can build a team to make it sustainable in the future. I am just not going to burden my vocational staff with another responsibility to add to their already challenging workload. I hope that helps from my point of view & I am sure Ps Craig will bring some clarity if he is thinking different to myself!

    Andrew not sure of outcome but I did sit in a meeting with the Church Online team yesterday who were busy trying to negotiate the turmoil just thrust upon them all by the demon of daylight saving:) not sure they are going to get a favorable solution for everyone but I can tell you this they are working hard to serve us all as a team as best they can. Ps Brandon has a wonderful team!

    Many thanks to all the team a LifeChurch.tv who served us all so well at the Family Reunion this week i left very challenged to try and do even more partnering with other churches in Australia to make a difference for the kingdom! I think its time to risk it all to breakdown walls for Christ & his mission. All i have to do is make back out of the land of jet lag to begin the process:). We are praying for you guys.

    Bless ya heaps
    Ps Kev

  23. 23Kevin Thomas
    Oct 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Hey Guys - I just noticed how long that was sorry!

  24. Oct 6, 2009 at 10:09 am

    The first Christ followers lived mission, evangelism, and ministry because they were Christ followers. The Church doesn’t need more programs. We need more Christ followers to love their neighbors as themselves. As neighbors minister to neighbors then hot dogs will be handed out, homes will be built for the homeless, addicts will get help and job assistance… If we’re teaching people this is what it means to Love God and Love Others then would we ever need to add a “program” or “ministry” to accomplish this?

  25. Oct 6, 2009 at 10:55 am

    @KevinThomas
    What do you mean by reinventing?

  26. 26Kevin Thomas
    Oct 6, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Hey Kyle

    By reinventing ourselves I simply mean we have been doing ministry a certain kind of way for a number of years & that leadership style & structure had served well for a period but it was starting to not work effectively for us to go forward in the future. I realized that in order for us to grow beyond where we are now we need a new wineskin, a new structure to sustain a new move of God in the future. I call it reinventing ourselves but really it is the process of trying to work out what is the kingdom culture that God wants embraced & what is the personal culture that needs us to remove. It can be challenging process but a very rewarding one. I hope that helps my friend.

    Bless ya heaps
    Ps Kev

  27. 27Christa
    Oct 7, 2009 at 9:45 am

    It is unfortunate, but the stats for church giving towards missions allow us to see why so many people feel more connected with para church ministries. For example (taken from http://www.joshuaproject.net)

    95% of all church giving is spent inside the church.
    Only 1% of total missions spending goes toward pioneer church planting among Least-Reached people groups. Out of every $1.00 (one US dollar) of Christian giving to all causes only half a penny goes toward pioneer church planting among Least-Reached people groups.

    When people give or get involved in a para church ministry they can see directly where their funds are being allocated. I know that Life Church is a very philanthropic ministry- but most churches don’t have this type of world view.

  28. Oct 14, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Good word Christa. I totally agree. Churches need to give more than lip service to sending, not just in reaching “Jerusalem”, but also “Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost.” Thankfully we are a part of a newer church that has allowed us to serve locally then sent us to Thailand as cross cultural workers. Instead of giving a token offering each month, they cover most of our family’s living expenses. They did this when the church was just over 5 years old and we are still meeting in an elementary school.

  29. Mar 18, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Dear Beloved Servant in Christ,
    Receive our christian greetings from Tanzania in the gracious name of
    our beloved Holy one the Lord Jesus Christ from whom we are forgiven and
    saved. We are greatly blessed and feel privileged
    to know you through your website, learn t about your faith and your
    desire to serve God.

    We are an independent fellowship church group in Tanzania desiring to be heed in your church ministry. We are independent in that we are
    without any cover,are not under any mission, ministry or church
    organization. We request for your Christian literature materials and bibles.
    We also practice the christian love and mercy by caring 45 needy orphan children who need help.
    We pray that through God’s Holy Spirit at work, that you shall
    appreciate our interest and desire that we might find a definite spiritual
    partnership with your church ministry.

    May God richly bless you as we look forward for your feedback.
    Yours Pastor Richard