Within the workings of the church there can always be found true ministry and false ministry, a valid and an invalid ministry. All valid ministry is initiated, empowered, sustained, and completed by the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Our philosophy of ministry here at Woodland Park can be described through seven pillars.
Seven Pillars for a Philosophy of Ministry
True ministry is initiated by God. A need for a ministry is not enough to justify a ministry; there must be an identifiable sense of God’s leading (John 3:27-28; 1 Timothy 1:12; 1 Kings 18:36). Just because another church does something or someone requests something does not validate the need for beginning a ministry. God is the initiator of all true ministry.
What God initiates, He anoints. When God raises up a ministry, there will be His supply and results for that ministry. You don’t have to worry if there will be enough manpower or money or if there will be results. Where God guides, He provides (Genesis 48:15). When God initiates ministry according to His desire and design He also is the one who empowers, sustains, and strengthens His servants for that ministry (Colossians 1:29).
True ministry is received, not achieved. Even when we have a sense that something is God’s will, it may not be His timing. Often there is a period of waiting between our awareness of a need and God raising up His solution. We are responsible to wait on the Lord in faith until He gives direction, and then act in faith in that direction (Colossians 4:17; Acts 20:24).
True ministry is not the result of man’s commitment, but of his surrender. Ministry that flows out of man’s efforts requires striving, glorifies man, and matters not in eternity. Ministry that flows out of surrender requires continual yieldedness, glorifies God who does the work, and lasts for eternity (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5:18).
God gets the glory for His ministry. Ministry that flows out of man’s efforts glorifies man. Ministry that flows out of surrender glorifies God who does the work and brings the results (1 Peter 4:10-11). All ministry is for the sake of the King and His Kingdom (Matthew 6:10).
True ministry is an organism, not an organization. A true ministry that is of the Lord is like a living organism, not simply a programmed organization. Because of this, the traditional business model of structure, leadership, and programs not only will not always succeed, but often will hinder the working of the Lord (1 Cor. 12:12-14; Romans 12:4-5).
The role of church leadership is not to do all the work of service, but to equip the laity for their works of service in and through the Body of Christ. It is the laity who carry the load of the work of the church (Ephesians 4:11-12; Hebrews 13:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The only spectators in the Christian life are those who have finished the race (Hebrews 12:1-4).