7 Aspects Of A Growing Organization
1. Truth Is Supplied And Maintained
Just like the apostles and elders of the Book of Acts, we must be vigilant in establishing and guarding the truth that we hold so precious. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “…speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Jude wrote that we “…should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Verse 3)
John was very explicit in admonishing the Church concerning false teachers that would spring new doctrines on the new believers. He said very frankly, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
After the severe warning of 2 Peter chapter 2, the apostle goes on in chapter 3, verse 2 to say, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”
And, of course, there is the apostle Paul, whose writings are replete with admonitions and exhortations concerning sound doctrine, a love for the truth, and the dangerous end times when there would be evil seducers becoming worse and worse with time. Much of Paul’s teaching centered upon the qualifications of being useful in the ministry of the saints.
One thing is for sure, the apostles were not compromisers when it came to the truth! Paul “marveled” upon learning of the Galatians’ temptation to turn toward another “gospel,” which, of course, was not in fact a gospel at all, but rather a perversion of the true gospel of Jesus. Subtle twists and turns of the truth have led many to the sad state of a compromised commitment to Christ. Someone in the church’s administrative authority must be responsible for the broadcasting of the real truth and its care. Maintaining the truth in the face of temptation and cruel compromise will never be an easy task, but it certainly remains one of the most sacred.
When we speak of maintaining the truth, we must keep in mind that there are two aspects of the truth: doctrine and holiness. Both of these should be based upon the scriptures alone, and not fall subject to cultural or traditional beliefs. Church membership must know very well that the teaching presented as saving truth is founded upon clear Biblical precepts. This, after all, is the Church that is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:20)
As said in an earlier chapter, principles never change, while applications do. To make a cultural application of a scriptural principle is a valid one. To base a so-called doctrinal “truth” on a culture or tradition is, however, invalid. A growing and expanding church will constantly face the temptation to change what is truly sacred. Promises of easier gospels or compromised definitions of biblical holiness will have to be soundly dealt with by the leadership of a revival church, whether at the local or national level. Leaders at each of these levels should understand that the rest of the body is standing with them on truth. There is one Head and one body only.
2. Transmission, Maintenance, And Enlargement Of The Vision
While the subject of casting the vision as a revival principle has already been discussed, it must be remembered that as a result of the application of the principles, the church will grow. The vision must grow with it. We have also already discussed in this chapter the fact that organizing and administering helps to contain the revival. Now it must be seen that we are actually containing the revival within the vision.
The growth experienced should never extend beyond a clear and proper God-given understanding and direction for the revival. The vision should propel the revival, and the growth of the revival will certainly help to shape the vision for the future.
Let us consider the application of the six principles studied:
- Equipping The Saints
- Building On The Nucleus
- Best Use Of Gifts And Talents
- A Balanced Ministry
- A Growing Organizational Structure.
After following them according to their designated parts in the order, we actually arrive back at principle number one again with a larger vision than before because this time around, the church has grown according to those principles.
Instead of a circular representation of the church’s growth, it actually can be better shown as a spiraling growth. In other words, instead of simply returning to the first principle and restarting the list, we are actually arriving at the first step in a more mature and experienced position of church growth.
Each time through the steps produces more church growth. We are, after all, continuing to constantly cast the vision, constantly equipping new and existing members for effectiveness in the ministry, always identifying who rises to the place of being included in the nucleus, searching for and making best use of the gifts and talents given, constantly ensuring that church ministry is balanced according to needs and resources, and organizing the church with a view to proper and spiritual administration in order to contain the revival within the vision. Each time around, we find we are growing. As the church revival grows, the vision should be growing with it.
Another consideration here is the fact that there will be new key players in the revival that have become part of this growing body. There will be new talents, new gifts, new ministers, etc. There will also be new leadership that rises to help in the vision and accomplishment thereof. While all of this is very positive, and is something we certainly hope for in every church, there exists the lurking danger of a false vision that may arrive with this new leadership. Just as truth must be maintained during growth, vision must be maintained as well.
In the chapter concerning vision, we saw that one part of the principle is that vision must be communicated regularly. This doesn’t stop after a little bit of revival church growth! In fact, it actually can become an even bigger part of the church mentality. There are now more members than before who have experienced the growth that a sound church assembly can enjoy.
We also looked at the fact that we would know when the vision for the church is being successfully cast and communicated. We used the gauge of principle number two, “equipping,” to judge this success. In other words, when equipping is effectively taking place, we know that the vision is getting to the target. This still applies in the spiraling stage of church growth. Each time around in the spiral brings us more equipping, more of a nucleus, etc. This means that more and more of the saints are becoming joined to the vision. It means also that more and more resources become available to balance against the present needs. And that means that the vision must expand with the revival in order to effectively minister to those needs.
Experience is a very good teacher. As a church grows in a very positive way, based upon sound biblical principles, the confidence of the congregation grows with it. There is more and more of a feeling that, “With God, all things are possible.” It is no longer just an inspiring verse of scripture; it becomes a reality in the local congregation or national church organization. Members realize that these principles are effective, and when applied, they help us to know that we are in harmony with the Lord in His Kingdom work. Happy is the pastor that knows the membership is with him because they know that he is in the right vision. Happy too are the members that have such a pastor! Even happier is the pastor who knows that more and more of the membership is becoming joined to the ever-expanding vision given to the local body.
3. Modeling Principles That Never Change
Another purpose served by a growing organizational structure is that of a “model.” In other words, it serves to inspire and provide a pattern for the future work. A “mother” congregation finds a great example of this part of the principle in the birth of a daughter work. The leader of the new daughter work will no doubt use very similar strategies and methods that he saw while a leader in the mother church. And why should he not? They worked there, and if they are truly principles that can be applied anywhere, they should certainly work for him. Modeling removes the danger of a haphazard approach to church growth. It also helps to eliminate the “reinvention of the wheel” that is so often seen. This occurs when every new leader has to discover for himself the principles that bring revival. The sad truth is that not every such leader finds them! If, however, the principles have become part of his experiential qualification, the new leader will already know how to apply them.
Modeling also serves in presenting a “standard of acceptance” to the work. This means that the criteria necessary for real and sustainable church growth are clearly delineated, and that anything less than these may be seen as unacceptable.
It is worth noting that the apostle Paul spent three years of ministry in one city. Normally he would not have used so much time in establishing a new work and training a leader or leaders for that work before moving on to the next stop in his journeys. But at Ephesus he had seen something special. He had recognized there an open door for something that could impact an entire region of the world. And so it did. No wonder then that he would have the vision and insight to invest three precious years in intense training at Ephesus, building what might be called a model church. It was this work at Ephesus that was responsible for all of Asia hearing the word during the space of two years (Acts 19:10.) They were reached, equipped, and sent to reach others. They became able ministers of the New Testament. To this group of leaders Paul wrote, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)
4. Communion And Brotherhood
Being part of a growing revival church means being part of something that is alive and exciting. It means knowing that we can make a substantial and meaningful contribution toward the accomplishment of the mission on which Jesus sent us. And that means we become a true “team.”
Let us consider these first four aspects of the sixth principle of revival in the context of an athletic team. Part one was the necessity to remain committed to the truth. This is what identifies us and starts the process of real unity on the team. It’s like a team uniform that we wear. There is a certain pride in wearing the uniform of a good team. It’s great to know that the team is well known and respected for its abilities. There is comfort in knowing that others in the same uniform have similar goals, participate in the same objectives, and share a common vision of success. We are now part of something that works together. We can depend on one another. We are one.
Part two is concerned with the vision. To the athletic team, vision is like the strategy they use in approaching the game. In order to win, there must first be a winning strategy. Certainly, the coach is the one responsible for having and maintaining this strategy before and during the game. He knows how to win, what is required to win, and he knows who are to be used as key players in the victory.
Part three is modeling. Here, the team begins to win. Not only do they win, but also they continue to win. Why? The strategy is a good one, and it works. In fact, the team starts to see that they will continue to be victorious by regular practice and by using the sound strategy of their faithful coach. A good kind of pride now begins to emerge. The team members are now more united than ever. They have planned and practiced together. They have fought and suffered together. Now they see that they also win together.
Part four, communion and brotherhood, is therefore no surprise. Team members are happy and safe in their respective places on the team. When the championship trophy is awarded, it makes no difference as to who sat on the bench for most of the season or who started in most games; the fact is that the team is victorious. That’s what teamwork is really all about anyway. Each player knows that he is part of something that makes a difference. Each church member of a growing revival church should feel similarly. This is a great team and we really can make a difference!
5. Submission To Authority And Accountability
There are usually lots of struggles in this part. But in reality, when the first four parts are adhered to, number five is almost guaranteed. Consider the team again. If the team is always winning, what team member will question the coach or his plans? If the team consistently loses, however, who would not question the coach? Too many leaders demand submission and accountability of their inferiors when the fact is that they are not providing sufficient positive leadership as “coaches.” They have a losing strategy, but expect the team members to bow down to their authority.
National church leadership should provide the kind of vision and strategy that leads the church forward in positive and sustained progress. Local church pastors should show the congregation that they have the right means and method for realizing true revival at the local level. This will go a long way in ensuring that others will submit to this kind of positive leadership.
It should be noted that this kind of accountability is not something that is automatic, however. It actually is systematic. It requires, for example, clear and open communication between leaders. And it must be clearly shown that accountability is a two-way street. Leaders are accountable to each other. Pastors are accountable in leading the congregation, and members are accountable to pastors. They are equally important, though they share different authorities in their respective responsibilities.
As the organization grows, new positions of responsibility are needed. In each one of these posts, the limits of authority and the accountability required must be clearly defined. This helps to eliminate most of the confusion that leaders seem to regularly encounter. It helps to put at ease those in leadership. They don’t have to worry about others over-stepping the boundaries if the boundaries are clearly seen. Just as the organization/administration contains the revival and keeps it in the vision, accountability will help to keep the leaders in the vision. After all, responsibilities and the authority that goes with them should be already defined by the vision. Where we are going and how we are going to arrive there are important in shaping the positions and responsibilities given during the journey.
6 .Administration Based Upon Responsibility, Not Position
This aspect refers to the equality of importance concerning the “positions” that leaders hold. It should never be a matter of who is more important than whom! Like the athletic team discussed above, each player has his role in the winning strategy. Authority will be different in each case, but importance to the team remains equal. What good is a coach without his starting players? What good are the starting players without the reserves? Some players will later become coaches themselves, and will need to be replaced by other able members of the team. They are all important, and they all contribute toward the same end.
Members of the body need to see that there will always be places of spiritual responsibility to which they can aspire. As they grow in grace, they should know that larger responsibility awaits their willingness to minister. This is part of an expanding vision in an expanding revival. Church growth will mean new places of leadership opening up as the ministry grows. This is true on a national, regional, or local level. More growth means more needs. More needs means more ministries. And more ministries require more leaders.
One of the most important roles that senior leaders can provide is that of making known the value of individual ministry in the body. This means clearly communicating the importance of each member as he puts his hand to the plow and does the work that God has shown him to do. Paul said in Ephesians 4:7, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” To help members realize the activation of that grace is one of the most rewarding things a pastor/leader can experience. We are helping people to rise to places not of importance, but to places of spiritual responsibility and true Christian ministry.
7. Flexibility In The Structure
We would do well in remembering that this structure we have created is a growing one. It must, therefore, remain flexible. We must be ready to make changes as they become necessary. Leaders will come and some will go, but the vision goes on. New leadership will emerge as new ministries are targeted. Ministry is based on need, and therefore as needs change, ministries will change with them. We should never become so locked into a certain way of doing things that we cannot discover a new and better way of accomplishing the task. We should be flexible enough to learn from our experiences. Some applications of the principles may prove to be outdated and obsolete. Other applications may prove to be complete failures. But the principles will remain as true as ever. We should have a structure to contain the revival that is flexible enough and adaptable enough to provide a climate in which we can find the right application for the principles involved. In the end, it is true spiritual ministry by the saints that is important. Whatever takes us to that point is what we should be seeking.
Flexibility in the structure is not to be confused with compromising the message or the principles. It simply speaks of the reality that there will be times for modification or elimination of some plans that we have made. Parents of growing children know very well that they will have to provide different kinds and sizes of clothing as the children grow older. The principle is simply that clothing is needed! But the application is concerned with the proper clothing for the proper child at the proper time. In the Kingdom of God, one size does not fit all. There may, in fact, be many ways in which one or more of the revival principles may be applied. It is our responsibility as leaders to find the appropriate ones. In order to do this, we should remain open to new and different ways of spiritual ministry.
One last consideration of being flexible is concerned with the fear that is often felt when it is time for appointing members to places of spiritual responsibility. Although we would like to know that someone’s personal ministry will be an eternal success, we really cannot make such a guarantee. Therefore, we should be assured that if something or someone simply does not work out the way we had hoped and planned, the position of responsibility could be removed and given to another.
Present and aspiring leadership should understand that real ministry precedes position. In other words, a real leader is someone that has already qualified for a position before he assumes it. A real leader is in a position because of who he is. He is not defined by the position that he holds. Rather, his position should be defined by the person he really is!
Paul wrote a perfect conclusion to this principle of a growing structure. He wrote in Ephesians 2:21, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” This is really the goal in structuring the organization. It is not to provide places of personal importance for the members or leaders. It is not there to provide fancy titles for vain positions. It is there to ensure that every member has the opportunity to grow into the place of spiritual responsibility and authority that God wants to give him or her. It is there to help them see that they are truly part of God’s house, so fitly framed together that each part is perfectly joined to its neighbor.
As the structure grows with the revival, more and more perfectly joined pieces will appear to take their places in this great house. Rather than squabbling over who is more important than the other, the members grow into a beautiful brotherhood that is dedicated to seeing even greater growth. This is the church that the apostles looked for, and it is the pattern that we must ourselves look toward today!
- Reviving The Stones - July 29, 2017
- 7 Aspects Of A Growing Organization - July 19, 2017
- Organizational Structure - July 11, 2017
- Aspects Of A Balanced Ministry - July 4, 2017
- The Principle Of Balance - June 28, 2017
- Near And Dear To God - June 21, 2017
- Gifts And Talents – 6 Considerations - June 14, 2017
- Gifts And Talents - June 7, 2017
- Ready To Build - May 25, 2017
- 4 Criteria For The Nucleus - May 17, 2017