Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Scotty Poole. Scotty and his wife Redenna are lovely people with large hearts for the Kingdom of God. They have been serving Lula Assembly of Praise (Lula, Georgia) since 2005. As well as serving as the senior pastor of a beautiful congregation, Pastor Scotty also serves in district leadership and is active in our organization’s international efforts towards great commission fulfillment.
Have you ever walked into your favorite restaurant, where the people know you well because of your frequent visits, and asked for your usual? There’s something quite comforting about that which is familiar. However, there are areas of life where you have to change it up because the same old thing is just not working anymore.
We have all seen how effective and life-changing a certain style of ministry can be. Because of this, we surmise, that we should maintain this style of ministry throughout our service to the Lord. Even when we see the effectiveness of that style begin to grow less and less, we continue. Why? Because it still works, sometimes. We also maintain this style of ministry because it is safe for us. After all, we do not have to journey into new and unknown styles of ministry.
Changing how we minister can be a scary journey. It may entail trial and error. Because we are trying and learning something new, we really do not know if it will work until it is tried. Even when what we know is becoming less effective, some would rather stick with what is familiar.
In the New Testament, we see encouragement to find new styles of ministry to be more effective. Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (ESV). The subject in this verse is about moving from foundational doctrine on to a more mature doctrine of teaching and belief. Even though this is about doctrine, going deeper in doctrine demands that we go deeper into ministry. Changing how you minister is not a compromise on the Word of God, it is simply adjusting how you present the Word of God.
Paul said, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22, ESV) showing that he never compromises his doctrine, but was always willing to go beyond the comfortable place of ministry. To the Jews, he ministered as a Jew but to the Greeks, he ministered about one of their gods, the unknown God.
So, where do we go from here? We do not change the style of ministry just for the sake of change. We must become assessors of society. Meaning, what will it take to get those who are outside of the faith to really hear and respond to the Gospel?
As we become more open to different styles of ministry and we begin to assess the needs of the people we are ministering to, then the Holy Spirit can direct the course of how to carry out the ministry that becomes more effective. The bottom line is that a sinner needs a savior and that Savior is Jesus, and this will never change. But how do we get the sinner to see that (1) he is a sinner, and (2) he needs Jesus?
We do that, however we can and if it means changing how we present the Gospel or how we reach out to the person then, that is what we must do! Where do we go from here? We go wherever the Spirit of God takes us, even if it is out of our comfort zone.
Where is the Spirit of God leading you and your church family? Are you willing to follow Him even if it means a change in ministry style? Be sure to comment below and leave your feedback.