gaining by loosingAt the Summit Church we have developed three classifications for ministries that help us balance our ministry approach:

  • Ministries we OWN: These are ministries that we, as a pastoral team, conceive, fund, and execute. Congregation members serve in and support these ministries, but the primary ownership, leadership, and responsibility lies with us. Things like the development of small groups, elder and ministry leadership training, and weekend worship all go in this category.
  • Ministries we BLESS: Ministries we “bless” are on the other end of the spectrum. These are ministries that we do not own at all; we function more as cheerleaders and prayer support for members of our congregation. Brother Billy tells me after the service one Sunday that he wants to provide every teacher in Raleigh with a #2 pencil that has “Jesus Loves You” engraved on the side and plays “What Can Wash Away My Sin?” whenever you erase something. I say, “Billy, that’s interesting. Let’s have a word of prayer about that, and then you come back in a couple of years to tell me how that worked out,” and that’s about the extent of our involvement. We just don’t have the bandwidth to get behind everything, and there are some things we would be wise to hesitate putting our name on. That said, some of the best ministries happening in our church have started this way.
  • Ministries we CATALYZE: Between “own” and “bless” are ministries we “catalyze.” A congregation member has an idea, brings it to us, and we feel that it lines up enough with our church objectives that we bring the resources of the church behind the idea to help make it even more successful. (“Resources” can mean financial support, networking potential, our name, and more.) Though we are invested in it, we don’t take responsibility for it. We leave the ownership in the hands of the member and empower them so they can accomplish it.

J. D. Greear, Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015).