Last time, we looked at how Christ’s ministry is the foundation for the Church’s ministry. You can read part 1 here. We continue with how, but considering Christ’s emphasis for the church, how that may shape our own Women’s ministry.
So then what might Christ’s ministry say to our Women’s Fellowship here at Zion? Broadly, it first gives us some emphases to keep in mind in all our ministry:
Women’s Ministry Themes
Attractional vs. Missional
Attractional approaches to ministry are those which basically take the “if we build it, they will come” direction. These churches are typically known for their varied resources often including rock walls, coffee shops, gyms, sports leagues, etc. The idea that drives this approach is that if you can just get the people in the doors, you can keep them there.
We prefer to view things not from an attractional, but a missional perspective. Instead of ministering on the basis of people coming to us, our approach is to take the ministry to the people. Like the Son of God condescending to leave His heavenly home and dwell among those whom He loved, we want to be known for our willingness to take the gospel from within the walls of our building to affect the lives of those we come into contact.
Width vs. Depth
In polling various churches, the vast majority cite numeric growth as their driving evidence of success. Success is measured by quantifiable numbers of weekly attendance, small group attendance, Sunday school attendance, etc. Achievement is determined by the number of people with whom the message is shared. We want our primary purpose of the local church to be making disciples. Not mere attendees or even converts, but disciples – mature followers of Jesus Christ. In the end, the “Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be [Christ’s] disciples” (John 15:8). As we go deeper in Christ, we will pull others along with us.
Marketing vs. Gospel
Some churches emphasize a certain “draw.” Perhaps they are the church with good music, or a great drama team or a really excellent children’s ministry. Like the attractional approach, the hope is to market the church to bring people in. The problem that we see with this approach is that it is generally true that “what you win them with is what you keep them with.” If you win people with lights and smoke, then next year you need more lights and more smoke. You are always forced to better your resources and marketing of those resources to distinguish yourself. The challenge is that the culture is always changing and when you market a specific segment or ministry, then you inevitably teach that your church is not for everyone.
At Zion we hope to win people by the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we can do this, then all we have to do to keep them is continue to preach the gospel — what we should be doing anyway. We hope to accomplish this through challenging our people to have a missional perspective as they live a gospel-centered life. So, the church will experience growth because of mission rather than marketing.
Entitlement vs. Sacrifice
A deep and pervasive sense of entitlement exists in much of the evangelical community. Those who have such an attitude, though they might not articulate it, assume that the church exists merely to
meet one’s own felt needs. Therefore, the church that caters to such an ideology is forced to create thousands of different programs to meet those ever-changing desires.
The Bible teaches not that the church exists to meet your needs, but rather that you exist to meet the needs of others. A heart of humility does not say “meet my needs,” but instead “do not cater to me. I am here to serve.” In the end, the greatest need, felt or not, is for the gospel. If we spend our time meeting peripheral issues, all we have done is dealt with symptoms without addressing the disease. Certainly we recognize the legitimacy of needs and are here to serve those in need, but an attitude of entitlement and true service are at odds. Continue reading →