In churches and ministries it’s important for leaders, teachers, and other workers to be on the same page in ministry in terms of basic doctrine but also the Church’s purpose, design, and mission. When they are not, confusion and conflict can easily creep in and sometimes even destroy the work.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page in Ministry in Regard to the Essentials
We must distinguish between essentials (i.e., basic doctrine, God’s purposes, design, and mission for the Church as found in the Word) and non-essentials (methods, forms, structures, means). Then we must determine which is causing the problem.
If a non-essential, perhaps we need to extend a little grace to one another. It may not be our preference or style, but it isn’t worth destroying the work of God for a non-essential (Rom. 14:12-20).
If we differ on something essential, then we have a problem that we must work through. Together we must bring the issue before God in prayer. We must learn what He says about it from His Word. Fighting for our own preferences or opinions, rather than seeking to align with God and His Word, inevitably will lead to greater conflict and consternation.
We need to lean on the Spirit for discernment (1 Cor. 2:9-16) so we see the real issue. If we don’t, we probably won’t work through our differences. Then we won’t understand why something that seems like a non-essential causes so much trouble.
Teachers have complained and quit over not having freedom to do their own thing when the real issue was not wanting to support the church’s doctrinal position or perhaps they weren’t clear on the purpose for which they were teaching.
Churches have split seemingly because of building issues or methodology when the real issue was philosophy of ministry based on differing views of the how the Church is to function.
In-fighting has ensued in board meetings over continuance or discontinuance of programs, allocation of funds, etc. when the real issue was that they didn’t have the same view of the church’s overall purpose and mission.
A Plan to Get People on God’s Page
If you’re a leader, work toward building a culture more concerned with doing ministry God’s way rather than having everybody do what’s right in their own eyes. Part of that will involve Bible teaching but also being an example of someone who continually seeks to align with the character and ways of God. Obviously that will require making sure you are on page with God’s overall purposes, design, and mission as found in His Word. And, it will undoubtedly require putting safeguards in place to keep yourself and the church or ministry on track.
When recruiting people for ministry, communicate this intent and train them on what it means to align with God’s purposes, design, and mission in their respective ministries. Here are some resources from Ministry Tools Resource Center that could give you a start in your training.
The Steering the Church Leadership Guides can be used for you own personal alignment or with your leadership team to work through biblical teaching about God’s purposes, design, and mission for the Church. The objective is to use God as our point of reference, our north star, not merely what we think should be happening or what other churches might be doing.
The Christian Education Leadership Team Training Session can help the Christian Education ministry of your church get on the same page in regard to its overall goal — that of seeing changed lives — and to understand what it will take to progressively move forward toward that goal. The session can be used with leadership who in turn can then train teachers in their sphere of influence using the Teaching for Changed Lives Workbook.
A one-time training event won’t be enough to build this kind of culture. Since we humans tend to be forgetful, we need continued reminders. And, we must keep open channels of communication with one another to prayerfully discuss issues in ways that keep bringing us back to God as the One with whom we must align.