Sunday, September 25, 2016

three questions

For 17 years at Woods Chapel UMC, we ran what we called a "permission giving structure."  It radically changed the profile and the personality of our church.  The concept is based on the idea that everyone is called to ministry and that programs, missions and ministries should percolate up from the grass roots up.  In most systems, programs, missions and ministries are prescribed by the church board or the pastor and staff.

It is my belief that the church was founded without top down direction and without prescribed actions.  It is my belief that the Holy Spirit did then, and still can today, speak into the hearts of  regular people and cause them to live out their lives in mission and ministry.

These ideas are ingrained into my brain, into my being and they won't go away.  I hope that all Christians in all churches will ask God what they can do for him.  When we begin to do that, no surprise, God actually fills people's hearts with ideas.  When people come forward with ideas, my brain goes to the three questions that we ask in a permission giving setting.

1.  Does this idea fit our mission?  
Does it in some way show a love for God or a love for others.  Does it in some way connect people with the journey of life and love.  Almost every idea that was presented over the years did so.  We had a few ideas presented that were about the person's personal business venture, but for the most part, ideas presented fit our mission.

2.  Who is going to do it? 
If God is calling you, then you need to take responsibility for the thing.  It cannot be dumped on staff.  We can't present your idea and then press members to join you.  If you want to start a support group for left handed people, then build a team before your launch.  If you want to go on mission to Transylvania, then assemble folks of a like mind.  Who is going to do this?

3.  How will it be paid for?  
Especially in this economy, nothing gets dumped on the church budget.  If God is calling you then He can show you a way to fund the thing.  Most ministry ideas cost nothing, were self funded or were paid for by user fees.  Of course not everyone can afford an international mission trip and we try to shy away from fundraisers.  But if God is calling you to a thing, God can help you figure out the funding.

New idea?  God speaking to you?
Does it fit our mission?  Who will do it?  How will it be funded?
If you have the answer to these questions, then I say - go.  GO.  GO!!  Fly!! Live out your calling for the ministry of Jesus.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to  see the good.

1 comment:

66427cpe said...

Jeff-I hope CCFUMC is still working at being "permission giving", and "bottoms up". We grew out of a church council and congregation that tended to be very controlling. We changed the council to "compass" to set broad direction for our church. We set up areas of responsibility for the Discipleship process - Invite, Connect, Grow, Serve, and Worship activities and let staff and lay leaders co-chair each area. These folks then made up Compass (along with Finance, Trustees, Staff/Parish). This leadership team then tried to measure requests for new initiatives against the church mission... Lay Leaders in each area were encouraged to recruit others to work in their respective areas. We wanted the congregation to be able to suggest new initiatives and "own them" by working with like-minded people. We actually had 3 year goals set by a mix of leadership and congregants at an off-site Vision casting event. Finance tried to be an enabler, not a road block. The work teams had freedom to choose how to make it happen. It kept us focused and we met most of the goals. We haven't any new goals for almost 3 years. If you want to chat more on this, let me know...Dan