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?

  1. I’m the Conference Executive Minister of Illinois Mennonite Conference within Mennonite Church USA
  2. The Mennonite Church merged with the General Conference Mennonite Church to form Mennonite Church USA.
  3. MC USA is organized in regional conferences.

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