Monday, January 25, 2010
The Apostolic Congregation
With great thanks to Dr. George Hunter...here are some of the features that identify a congregation that is alive, vital and clearly looking toward the future with apostolic eyes!
By the way, George Hunter's new book called The Apostolic Congregation, Church Growth Reconceived For A New Generation is well worth the read. It is a wonderful summary of where we have been with a focus on a growing future!
An Apostolic Congregation
* Has congregational eyes, heart, and mind that are always focused outward toward the needs of pre-Christian people
* Organizes ministry around a staff leadership team that is responsible for motivating and training others for hands-on-ministry
* Intentionally shifts away from the 'chaplain' model of ministry into a multifaceted gifts-based congregational ministry team that includes paid and non-paid staff
* Has a strategy for providing excellence in teaching, worship, preaching, and prayer
* Understands that the 'harvest field' has changed
* Stands firmly on traditional faith with flexibility in how that faith is delivered and shared with the congregation
*Intentionally seeks to be aware of the current culture, climate and needs in the missional neighborhood
* Desires to involve as many people as possible in direct hands-on ministry
* Looks to mission ministry as a primary training ground where all people are mission senders or mission goers...but always seeking to reach the local neighborhood
* Is constantly learning how to create growth and discipleship opportunities for people in the areas of personal faith, relationship building, leadership, and life skills
* Sees the future as a positive and passionate possibility that is filled with hope...they are 'horizon' people who are always looking for the next opportunity
* Is lead by leaders who are flexible, spiritually alive, and constantly learning
* Allows for and welcomes change, adjustment, and new opportunities that will bring hope to others
* Understands how social networks and key relationships help bring people to faith
* Realize that commitment to Christ is not the end goal, it is the beginning
* Has a model for ministry that includes solid Biblical stewardship teaching
* Looks to the establishment of new congregations and fresh ministries as a primary goal
* Understands the power of excellence, the motivation of innovation, and the potential that arises from anticipation, preparation, and holy unrest
* Has a solid theological understanding of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus.