- Jim Townsley
- Dec 12, 2011
The definition of a church is, “A called out group of baptized believers.” We must never forget that the ministry is people and the church is saved people. Without people there is no church. The Bible states in Proverbs 14:4 "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." If you don't want any problems then you must not have people. But, the work of the ministry requires working with fallen men and women. People arrive at your church with problems and they create problems after they come. But starting a church requires learning people skills and especially biblical skill in solving people's problems. Developing a ministry to these sinners saved by grace is necessary to God's develop church.
A preacher once stated, ”We must use the church to build our people, rather than use our people to build our church." I like this statement and though it is true it is not always easy to follow, because the two are often intertwined. But, the need to work with people, to help them, and to train them is essential to every new church.
Often the first members have more problems and less talent or ability than in a mature church. Nevertheless, these weaker believers are your members and they need your care. Time must be given to them. One of the keys of a growing ministry is to determine with whom to spend time and how much time to spend with them. There will always be some individuals who waste your time and in the end they do not respond to your teaching. We must guard against the "squeaking wheel gets the grease" mentality, because those who are most faithful often go unnoticed. These faithful servants need your time and they will become the heart and soul of your new church. Everyone needs to know that the preacher cares for them and loves them, but a church is built when a man of God teaches and trains leaders for the future. Therefore, it is imperative to spend the most time with those members who show the most promise of becoming the future leaders of the church.
Time must be spent on purpose with members. Developing a plan to teach and train new believers is one of the mist important aspects of church planting. How can training be conducted most effectively? One of the initial processes of helping new and prospective members is to visit people in their homes. Sometimes people can even be visited at work. I have been surprised how many members can be visited at their job without objection by them or their boss. (Please be careful not to offend a boss or employee and absolutely respect the rules of the company) These weekly regular visits give you the opportunity to get to know them better and develop a stronger relationship with them. Another possibility of contact is a weekly discipleship study. This could be arranged prior to their work or after their work or on the week-end. In these discipleship classes you have the opportunity to teach them the basic truths for a new believer and, in addition, help them with occasional problems that occur in their life that might otherwise go undetected and cause them to stop attending church. Among other possible ways to build up new believers is through a new convert's class taught in Sunday school or perhaps prior to the evening service. This type of setting requires that they come every week, but if they do not attend they still may need contacted regularly during the week at their home.
The regular services of the church should be for the edifying these new converts, especially during the infancy of the new church. Preaching should be geared to winning the lost, but members who attend every week will dry up without being fed by the preacher. The preaching during those first few months should enhance the discipleship of the new believers. Sermons should be developed based upon the needs of the church. Care should be taken not to single out one individual or event during the preaching. Basic doctrine and principles of Christian living should permeate every sermon. Issues such as the family, money, work, worship, soul-winning, and holiness should be preached.
Through personal contact the pastor will be able to nurture and train believers in doctrine and Christian living. Balance in the ministry is vital, but the early stages of a new church requires teaching and training that especially is pertinent to new Christians. People need a pastor and that is why they will continue to grow and become involved. The work of the ministry is never impersonal. We must give ourselves to this great need of ministering to God's people.