THE ST. MATTHEW’S MINISTRY STATEMENT
Our Philosophy of Ministry
This is the basic understanding of what is expected of somebody who serves at St. Matthew’s, what we believe. These are the parameters.
What we believe about ministry
Salvation in Jesus Christ automatically includes a call to ministry. Every believer is created, saved, called, gifted, authorized, and commanded to minister.
We believe ministry is the heart of the Christian life, that function follows form in ministry. How God made me determines what He intends for me to do. God has uniquely shaped each individual for a specific ministry.
We believe God has given all His children gifts that can be developed and used in ministry. Everyone is a "10" in some area. Everyone has something to offer. Developing and using your gifts is an act of good stewardship and of service.
We believe you discover your gift through ministry, instead of discovering your ministry by identifying your gifts. In other words, as you start serving, and you're going to find what you're gifted at doing.
The evidence of the right match between my shape and my ministry is fruitfulness and fulfillment.
Membership and maturity are prerequisites to ministry. At some time in the future, we will require class attendance and commitment to these three areas before serving through St. Matthew’s. At this time, since we are so new, we have folks who are “grandfathered” into ministries. It is our hope that all leaders of ministries at St. Matthew’s will want to attend and sign the covenants for Membership (101), Maturity (201) and Ministry (301).
What we believe about the body of Christ
God intends for ministry to be performed through the context of the local church. Membership includes a commitment to ministry. That's what membership means. It means I'm going to commit to ministry.
The Holy Spirit has provided our church body with all the spiritually gifted people needed to do everything He wants us to do. We believe our task is to discover, enlist, train, and support these people in ministry.
We believe that the church is to operate on the basis of spiritual gifts, rather than elected offices. We don't ever elect people to ministries. The Bible teaches, "A man's gift makes room for him." Prov. 18:16
We believe that the church is a body, not a business, an organism, not an organization. Therefore we streamline the structure in order to maximize ministry and minimize maintenance. We don't bury ministries under a bunch of procedures.
We believe the mobilization of every member as a minister is the key to balanced growth of the church.
We believe that the greater good of the whole body must always take priority over the needs of any single ministry. There is no place for turfism in God's family. In other words, as we grow, we will increase the occasions in which there are two or more ministry activities scheduled at the same time. We don't say, "All of you have to cancel just for the sake of the bell ministry," or "All of you have to cancel just for the sake of women's prayer group." We just realize that as we grow, nobody can be at everything, yet somebody attends something. So we offer lots of opportunities without any competition.
What we believe about the role of pastors at St. Matthew’s
We believe the equipping of the members for ministry is the number one priority of the priest. The people are the ministers and the pastors are the administrators. (Ephesians 4:11 - 12)
The objective of the Priest is to mobilize and equip an army of ministers who are maximizing their unique gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences in a meaningful place of service through our church.
We believe every member deserves personal assistance in discovering a meaningful place of service. We value the individual more than the ministry. That's why we're having personal interviews with every person.
What we believe about accountability
We believe we become what we are committed to. Therefore we encourage growth in commitment to Christ and His Church.
We believe everything rises or falls on leadership. No ministry can exceed the commitment of those leading it.
We believe one mark of a maturing church is that the standards for leadership are raised every year. When we first started out, to be a leader at St. Matthew’s all you had to do was be a warm body and breathe. It was like "Please Help!" But now there are standards of leadership and they are increasing every year.
We believe there must be periodic reviews of all ministries. We do what is inspected, not just what is expected. Best intentions are not enough. According to St. Matthew’s Policies and Procedures, we have three Trusties. One of their duties is to provide a performance audit of each of the purposes the Body Leadership Team members lead. We want to be sure that all the ministries at St. Matthew’s are actually strengthening at least one of our five purposes. At this time, we do not have our Trusties in place.
What we believe about training
Every leader is a learner. The moment you stop learning, you stop leading. We emphasize on the job training more than pre-service training. We learn best by doing. We delegate to develop people. A lot of churches, before you can start any ministry, you've got to go through about 52 weeks of some class. At St. Matthew’s, you go through this class, you're in. Why? Because if somebody wants to go through 52 weeks of study before they ever start a ministry, they're just a professional student. They don't really want to minister; they just want to learn. We say, "Get involved in ministry and then we'll teach you on the job." You don't even know the questions, until you're on the job.
What we believe about the diversity of ministry
We have unity without uniformity. We believe diversity in ministries simply illustrates the unique giftedness of individuals.
Any member who has completed Class 301 may start a new ministry with the assistance of the Priest and the Body Leadership Team (BLT). If you've got an idea, great! You're never too old to serve God and others." Isn't that great?
We believe every ministry must fill one or more of the basic purposes of the church or we don't do it.
We believe ministries have life cycles. If a ministry isn't meeting a need anymore, we will give it a decent burial. We kill it. There are no sacred cows at St. Matthew’s. There is a saying: Sacred cows make great hamburger! Some churches have half a dozen programs that are dead. They just need to bury them and be done with it! The most expensive thing to do is to keep a corpse from stinking.
We believe that most ministries require a one year commitment but we allow people to change ministries gracefully, without guilt. We don't lock people in permanently.
We believe your primary ministry commitment should be in the area where you're gifted. Your secondary ministry includes serving in any other area of the body where you are needed.
We believe you're not ready for ministry until you are willing to serve anywhere.
What we believe about performance
We expect excellence in ministry, not perfection. Excellence is doing your best. God deserves our best.
We encourage creativity and innovation in ministry, which assumes that mistakes will be made. No mistakes mean you're not growing or trying anything new. We have no failures in ministry at St. Matthew’s, only experiments that didn't work. You’re not growing if you're not developing. If the same mistake is made more than once, that means there is no learning taking place. But new mistakes are great. That means they're trying. They're developing. If a person says, "I want to start a ministry." The BLT will make sure that it supports one of our Purposes, then say, great! Go for it! Try it! Six months down the road, perhaps it's dead. That's ok. It just means it was the wrong timing, wrong person, or God didn't want us to do it at this point, fine. It's a learning experience. Everybody's a 10. You just have to find the right area.
We believe that a failed project does not mean a failed person. There are no wrong people, only right people in the wrong ministry. Dean Payne (from Saddleback), who started the video tape ministry just did it on his own. He told Rick Warren that, he sends his mother in her late 80's a tape every week of the service. She lives in Portland. And she got a group of little blue haired ladies together. They sit around in a circle and she plays the tape for them every week and they discuss it. About a month ago, she went to a local pastor and said, "I've got five ladies in my group who've accepted Christ. They need somebody to baptize them." Here's a lady in her 80's. Isn't that incredible! God can use anybody and He uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
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