Denomination: You’re not the point! You support the point.

I am a conference minister 1. Which means I do not pastor a local church. I work to support local churches and pastors in their ministry.

Today I came across the old bylaws of the Mennonite Church. 2 I love the clarity of these words:

Section 1: Role and Function. The congregation is God’s people meeting for reconciliation, witness, worship, service, discernment, mutual fellowship, admonition, and discipline. The congregation finds broader meaning as it becomes part of the larger [people]hood beyond itself, but this larger relationship must not inhibit or deny the congregation’s centrality in the life and witness of the denomination. All that God intends the church to be and do must first be experienced in the local congregation. Any agency or program beyond the congregation is intended to assist the congregation in fulfilling its function. [emphasis added]

This is what drives ministry at the regional and national level. If it doesn’t, it’s time for some serious reevaluation. If a conference 3 or denomination is not assisting the congregation in fulfilling its function, every penny donated or minute given diminishes the ministry of the local church. The conference and/or denomination is extracting resources from local ministry that could be given to other ministries.

If you are a pastor, and you belong to a denomination, how does that relationship assist the congregation you pastor in fulfilling its function?

How can the conference or denomination better assist you in fulfilling your function?

What do you need that you do not have?

Entrepreneurial Pastors Needed!

I hear this all the time.

“Churches need entrepreneurial pastors.”

I never knew what to think about that – until I read Seth Godin’s January 16, 2018 post “The four elements of entrepreneurship”.

Like most of Seth’s work, that post was brief, to the point, and helpful. In that post, Seth talked about four things people do when they are acting like entrepreneurs.

1. They make decisions.

2. They invest in activities and assets that aren’t a sure thing.

3. They persuade others to support a mission with a non-guaranteed outcome.

4. This one is the most amorphous, the most difficult to pin down and thus the juiciest: They embrace (instead of run from) the work of doing things that might not work.

If that is what people mean when they say, “The church needs entrepreneurial pastors!” I’m all in.  The church in post-Christendom America definitely needs…

  1. Pastors who make decisions (especially hard decisions no one else wants to make)!
  2. Pastors that are willing to invest in activities and assets that aren’t a sure thing – especially people.
  3. Pastors that persuade others to support (and participate in) a mission where the outcome is unclear and not guaranteed.
  4. Pastors that embrace the “work of doing things that might not work.”

Pastor,  do those four activities describe what you do as you lead your congregations?