Ministry models that don’t support the mission of the church eventually impede the mission or become the mission. Did I mention that after my successful student evangelistic crusade I was told never to schedule an event like that again? This was a church that had an altar call after every sermon. This was a church with a mission statement taken directly from Matthew 28. As much as I love the church I grew up in, it was married to a model, not its mission.
One of the primary reasons churches are empty is because church leaders love their models more than they love people. Writing to business leaders, author Seth Godin addresses a parallel tension in the marketplace when he writes: “Don’t fall in love with a tactic and defend it forever. Instead, decide once and for all if you’re in a market or not.” I’m afraid too many church leaders are in love with their tactics, their approaches to doing church. Jesus called us to be in a market. One of the reasons our church grew as fast as it did was, to pivot off Seth’s quote, every other church in Atlanta was competing for the church-people market. We decided to get into the unchurched people market. That’s a much larger market, and we had no competition at the time. Our challenge is to make sure we stay in that market. To do that, we dare not fall in love with our way of doing things.
Stanley, A. (2012). Deep and wide: Creating churches unchurched people love to attend. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.