What You Believe Affects What You Do
We all have a philosophy by which we do ministry. We may not be able to verbalize it. We may not have it written on paper. But, key elements of belief tend to drive us to serve the way we do.
A person or ministry could have a philosophy written down on paper yet operate from a different set of beliefs. That which is in the heart and mind tends to preempt that which is on paper unless the person or ministry comes under strict accountability to abide by the written code. Even then, hints of what is truly inside will surface in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways. The source of many conflicts in ministry stem from an incongruence between philosophies.
Some of the key elements or core values at the basis of a philosophy for the Christian Education ministry of the church include the following. People involved in that ministry will fall somewhere on a spectrum within these elements. The effects will become evident in the way tasks are approached and the way people are treated.
Spectrum: from the acquisition of knowledge to the application of knowledge; from adherence of traditions to the pursuit of transformation; from outward conformity to inward change
Effect: the focus of programs; the structure of lessons and sermons
Role of the Word:
Spectrum: from unimportant to central; from truth that is relative to truth that is absolute
Effects: the choice of curriculum; the filter for making decisions
Spectrum: from teacher-centered to student-centered; from passive learners to active learners
Effect: the type of methodology used; the emphasis in training workers
Role of the Holy Spirit:
Spectrum: from no emphasis to excessive emphasis
Effect: the role of teachers and leaders; the prayer life of the workers
Role of Spiritual Gifts:
Spectrum: from no emphasis to a strong emphasis
Effect: the methods and goals of recruitment
Spectrum: from laissez-faire to autocratic
Effect: the way workers are supervised; the extent of a team mentality; the way decisions are made; the level of communication with workers
Standard of Excellence:
Spectrum: from an "anything goes" attitude to perfectionism
Effect: the priority of organization and administration
Church / Home Relations:
Spectrum: from none to high involvement
Effect: the type of programming; the cooperation in discipline issues; the knowledge about students
The potential for coming into the same heart and mind on these matters increases when a philosophy of ministry is developed from a biblical or theological basis. God's Word is the standard, not tradition or a certain leader's bent. The Spirit of God works through Scripture to convict and equip, not through man-made reasoning. If a ministry's philosophy is truly based on the Bible, the Spirit has what He needs to unify pliable hearts.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil. 2:1-4)
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