Building Ministries Around People

Building Ministries Around People

Women in the Work of Vine-Growing

The fifth session of this 2-day Trellis and Vine workshop began with an excursus as Tony briefly commented on the ministry of women in this vine-growing work. Tony and Col both hold to a complementarian view of gender roles. Although this is different from the Anglicanism in which they are a part, Tony admits that the Scriptures drive them to the complementarian position.

In fact, their understanding of gender roles has created a better platform for what they would consider real women’s ministry. The issue in many egalitarian churches can often drift to the issue of power. But ministry is not about power. Real ministry is about ministering the Word of God. This focus liberates women from the one extreme of grasping for power and the other extreme of only organizing scrapbooking seminars.

Who Do I Work With?

After that pertinent excursus, Tony then led the group in an individual exercise. He gave the pastors a short break to think of seven people to whom they’re ministering. He instructed the pastors to locate these people on a spectrum of gospel growth.

We need to recognize that the people we’re called to serve all have different needs. The question of ministry soon becomes: “Who do I work with?” It is impossible for one person to deeply invest in seven people. Investing in two people is more feasible. The challenge: “Which two of the seven?”

Tony expressed the tendency to gravitate towards those who have the greatest needs. However, he corrected the tendency by suggesting we invest ourselves in those who will be able to work with others. Leaning on 2 Timothy 2:2, he suggested the most effective investment is in those who have the greatest potential of investing in others.

Building Ministries Around People

Col began a new phase of the session under the heading, “Build ministries around people, not hype or good ideas.” He continued, “We tend to copy the methods of other churches without focusing on our own people. Success gets us hyped up and we think that if it works for them then it must work for us.” He also added that ministry starting with people rather than programs (or trellises) is more in harmony with the doctrine of spiritual gifts.

Insisting that their goal is not to promote a model, Col listed three simple steps for building a team of disciple-makers.

  • Preach the grand plan of God
  • Model sacrificial discipleship
  • Do ministry together as a team

Col introduced their process of building disciple-makers as conviction, character, and competence. It begins as Bible study and doctrine and then moves to discipleship and then to disciple-making.

It is important to emphasize that training does not start with skills; it starts with theology. This is a shift from the common tendency that attracts people to potential leaders who have the highest proficiency in skill. Real training for gospel ministry is about Christian thinking and living.

 

Notes from Other Sessions

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God, and is the lead planter of Cities Church in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. He is also the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.