Purpose Driven Church Cult

The Purpose Driven Church is devoted to TRAFFICK including "buying and selling souls" using music as the weapons or instruments of Lucifer. Rick Warren has influenced thousands of Churches and believers who continue to absorb new and creative ways to utilize witnessing techniques and build church growth. His whole agenda is indeed about building up super churches and as I will point out, rejects the more traditional and fundamental methods employed by the examples of Christ's Apostles and some of today's remnant of traditional value churches. By the methods he employs and trains pastors with, he has and is compromising the most basic and fundamental necessities called for in scripture regarding our "gathering together." From a Rebuke to Purpose Driven Church.

See a collection of facts about Rick Warren, Willow Creek and the Purpose Driven Cults. Here is an example of the Purpose Driven Cult seeking to DIVERT THE CHURCH HOUSES AND INHERITANCE OF WIDOWS. The goal is to change the "school of the Bible and Christ" into a "theater for holy entertainment" just in time to fulfill Revelation 18. The rhetoricians, sOPHISts (serpents), singers and musicians along with other CRAFTSMEN fulfill the role of sorcerers in the book of Revelation. Because they were associated with the pagan temples which always self-destructed, they were all identified as PARASITES. To John in Revelation, the MUSES were the locusts (female singers-musicians) under Apollo, Abaddon or Apollyon. Here is why you cannot trust men who plan to COLLECT and DIVERT. A real-life Purpose Driven Plan

> Our transition (change agents) involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue for years to come. Our plan for transition involved a prescribed procedure in the following order:

[Translate transition to CHANGE and the facilitators trained by once-Christian colleges as AGENTS.]

> Start a gradual worship style transition.

[This means thieves break in and steal but no one is fooled. Jesus said that worship which God accepts is in the PLACE of your spirit: NO singers-musicians in the holy places. Can you really COOK a frog with a smile on its face if you warm the water gradually?]

> Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.

[Don't take the surveys: they are lies. They depend on you being in submission and echoing the suggestions of the "survey."]

> Determine your church purpose: Our church purpose is "to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, His family, and the world, our neighbor."

[Jesus built an ekklesia or the Greek synagogue. The church was a synagogue which added the Lord's Supper. Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish Convert, confirms the direct command that "There was never a PRAISE SERVICE in the Synagogue." The synagogue or "church in the wilderness" outlawed instruments and "making a joyful noise before the lord" because this was the warrior's panic music. Psalm 41 prophesied that Judas would try this on Jesus]

> Emphasize the church's responsibility to reach the unchurched.

[Jesus gave that to the evangelists and not the church. People who adopt this purpose for the church, like Israel in Amos, intend to let the people hunger and thirst for the Word and go into captivity to people who INFILTRATE and DIVERT using the Purpose Driven Cult.]. Amos defines musical idolatry from Mount Sinai. http://www.piney.com/Amos-Five.html

> Launch a New Member's class.

[They warn that the scam doesn't work well on old members. That is why if you are OLD and Bible literate they depend on you leaving.]

> Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.

[Church vs You]

> Adopt new church by-laws so that the organizational concept and structure of the church comply with the biblical structure for a church.

[That means, steal the property so that no one else can steal it back: even its owners. In Seattle, the cult leader had an attorney claim that members were financially liable if they excluded instruments: the Pastoress has an evening service which sounds like witchcraft. Religious guitarISTS were parasites and excluded from the church of Christ according to the Apostolic Constitutions c.ad 205.]

> Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.

[This means the circle cult: you must progress through concentric circles or baseball diamond, take courses, sign COVENANTS and slowly--determined by contribution--enter into the inner circle. Whether you sign or not you are a COMPLIMENTARIAN until you "gladly submit to women as elderesses." They HAVE even recommended divorces if the husband balks. You pledge allegiance to the "leaders"man-wife team and not to Christ.]

> Enlist the support of your senior adults.

[They will HAVE to bend to the deliberate SOWING OF DISCORD OR LEAVE. At Madison that meant "make them think that they are on a train to Nashville but YOU have to switch their train to Kimmins and a STEALTH Purpose Driven seminar by Archie.]

> Transition the ministry of the church to the people and the maintenance of the church to the staff

[That means the Staff USES the elders as just the shepherds of the professional staff which will grow to ride on the backs of widows. These effeminate driven cults fire the deacons and hire professional "ministers"and USE deaconesses who are easier to manipulate than deacons Hillcrest in Texas caught on and fired the STAFF.]

> Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.

[You thought that Jesus and the Word had that job. The Purpose Driven Cult removes all DOCTRINE and feeds you, like Circe the holy whore using music, on dung.] .

> Lead the church to decide to relocate (or expand).

[YOU don't decide: you are manipulated or enslaved.]

> Pay for property.

[Get the money while cunningly deceiving about the PURPOSE before you are outed.]

> Raise funds for the new facility.

[Keep your agenda. secret. Yes, one MARK is the Christ denying TITHE.]

> Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation. [remove Christ from the sign]

> Launch in-home community groups.

[This is where selected change agents manipulate what Hitler called the "human material." Rubel Shelly uses Machiavelli to explain the SLOW process.]

> Graciously Release Those Members Who Choose To Leave

[Their own property property: they break through and steal and peddle music-induced sexual impulses as "spiritual." WRONG spirit.]

> "Those who went out were not OF us." You must remember that the transition will not please everyone - that would be impossible. Do not abandon your vision to appease a person or even a group of persons who choose to leave. God will send other leaders to take their place.

[Owner- Lamb, you are dispensable]

This paper is from Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox.  You can go to that website to get more helpful articles, etc.)

How to transition an established church – Part 1

By Chuck McAlister

For eleven years now, I’ve had the privilege of escorting a 100-year-old church through a marvelous process of transition. This process continues, as it involves relocation to a new site, a new name, new ministries, and a new structure.

By a 99 % vote our church decided to change its location, where we’d been located for 100 years, and by a 96 % vote our church also decided to change its name. The church took the initiative to dissolve its by-laws and embrace a new structure that we believe will allow it to become the church God called us to be.   How did this transition take place? It occurred through the efforts and commitment of a church family that walked together through a clearly defined process to arrive at God’s best for the church.

The following steps can be applied, I believe, to any church that desires to make this transition:

Plan Your Transition
(Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 20:18; Proverbs 24:27)

Our transition involved an eleven year process that continues to this day and will continue for years to come. Our plan for transition involved a prescribed procedure in the following order:

    •    Start a gradual worship style transition.

    •    Focus on preaching for change to set the stage for determining your church purpose.

    •    Determine your church purpose: Our church purpose is “to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, His family, and the world, our neighbor.” Your church purpose must embrace the five New Testament purposes for a church.

    •    Emphasize the church’s responsibility to reach the unchurched.

    •    Launch a New Member’s class.

    •    Encourage your members to embrace the church purpose as their personal purpose.

    •    Adopt new church by-laws so that the organizational concept and structure of the church comply with the biblical structure for a church.

    •    Implement a covenant process for personal, spiritual growth of church members.

    •    Enlist the support of your senior adults.

    •    Transition the ministry of the church to the people and the maintenance of the church to the staff (paid or volunteer).

    •    Transition the education ministry to make it life-empowering.

    •    Lead the church to decide to relocate.

    •    Locate new property for the relocation.

    •    Pay for property.

    •    Plan for a new facility.

    •    Raise funds for the new facility.

    •    Lead the church to change its name in preparation for the relocation.

    •    Launch in-home community groups

Each of these stages in our transition involved multiple steps that necessarily included ownership of the change by the people of the church.

Work Your Plan
(Philippians 3:13-16; Psalm 90:12)

You must stay committed to your plan of transition in spite of the challenges that arise, the people who leave your church, and those who will try to take your vision hostage by imposing their preconceived or traditional ideas on the church.

Communicate Your Vision Regularly
(Galatians 6:9, Proverbs 19:21)

The entire process is too much to communicate at once, so communicate the validity of each stage of the process as you work your way through it. We utilize our New Member’s Class to share the process with those coming into our church. We tell them that the New Member’s Class does not exist for us to determine if we want them as a member, but to help them know the type of church we are, so they can determine if they want to join us.

We then ask our newcomers to take ownership of our vision by making four commitments:

1. Learn their spiritual gifts and determine where they would like to minister through our church;

2. Tithe;

3. Join a small group (Fellowship Bible Study class);

4. Write out their story (testimony) of how they came to Jesus personally, which they are encouraged to share with non-believers.

As you communicate your vision with your church in each stage of the transition, do so in small groups. The senior pastor must be the primary communicator of the vision.

Take Your Time
(James 1:3-4; Romans 5:3-5)

It will take time to make the transition. You must approach each part of the plan on its own merit. Do not rush. Give people an opportunity to buy into each step of the plan. Make use of teams from a broad spectrum of your church.

Don’t establish a time line for accomplishment of any of the stages of the transition or the overall transition itself. Emphasize and celebrate the completion of each stage of the transition, not the time-line for the transition. Allow an adequate time of adjustment before moving on to the next stage.

Our transition has taken eleven years thus far, and it will take many more. In fact, this transition will always be a part of our ministry. It is a process, not a destination.

As a result of the constant changes occurring in our culture, every church must remain adaptable to changes, remaining relevant without changing its message.

Maintain Flexibility
(Philippians 2:12-13)

Your church is unique. Do not try to reproduce, in total, what other churches have done. The key word is adaptability. The uniqueness of your church will be determined by your church’s history and your church’s culture.

As I began our transition, I asked a professional church consultant to review the history of our church and to give me its profile. He informed me that we had what he called “a repeat offender church.” Every previous pastor he interviewed indicated they’d been asked to leave when our church reached a certain size.

Our church had an in-grained power structure that did not include the pastor. Once I knew our church’s history, I also knew that the most crucial stage of the transition for our church would be a structure change. Without a change in structure, our transition would not occur.

The culture of our church is that of a Bible-belt church in the Southern part of the United States. That means that many of the unchurched we encounter have at least some church exposure in their background. Our church had to be flexible enough to impact these people, many of whom have given up on church because a traditional church did not meet their needs.

Stay Put
(Psalm 37:3-6)

This transition process takes years. It cannot be accomplished in a few months. I have committed my life and ministry to stay where I am so that I can continue to take our church through this transition. I am laying the groundwork in our church right now to ensure that the legacy of this transition continues beyond my years into the next generation of our church.

Refuse To Abandon Your Process
(Psalm 37:7-8)

The pastor must stay focused on the vision of the transition, evaluating everything that happens in the church in light of the impact it will have on the transition. The distractions will be numerous; problems will arise, but stay with the process.

Possibly, you will face challenges from staff, particularly those who were present when you arrived. You must deal with those swiftly and decisively, preferably putting those issues to rest before you start the transition process. It will mean dismissing staff if they do not “buy in” to the transition.

How to transition an established church – Part 2

Become an Expert on the Process of Change
(Hebrews 6:1-3; Psalm 48:14; Isaiah 42:16; John 16:13; Psalm 27:11)

Read everything you can get your hands on about leading an organization through change. Use the knowledge you gain to keep evaluating, not only the stages of your process, but also the methods you’re using to implement change. Seek advice wherever you can get it. Do not be too proud to ask, “What would you do?”

Then, above all, read and apply God’s Word to your life and process. Pray ... pray ... pray for God’s direction, and be sensitive to change whatever God says change. Remember, this process must ultimately be an implementing of God’s will for the church or it is doomed to failure. You need His supernatural involvement or it will not happen.

Stay Connected With and Enlist the Support of Your Senior Adults
(Titus 2:2-8; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Proverbs 16:31)

As we moved into the crucial stages of our transition, particularly our structure and name changes, I asked the senior adults to lead the way in making these changes. I enlisted them as Legacy Leaders. I told them that I realized they would, in essence, be planting trees that they could not eat the fruit from in this life, but that they would be continuing to receive the rewards for their participation in these changes long after they had entered eternity.

I will never forget the meeting when we were discussing our name change and the reasons for it, and the senior adults gave me permission to communicate to our church family their unanimous support for the name change. You must honor your senior adults through each stage of the process, not to manipulate them, but to give them the respect they deserve for their years of faithfulness. Inform them first at each stage of the process. Enlist them as your prayer partners, and share your prayer concerns with them as you work through the process.

Continually Emphasize Your Church’s Responsibility to Reach the Unchurched
(Matthew 28:19-20)

You must help your church family understand that each step completed in your transition tears down yet another barrier between your church and those who do not know Jesus. This will resonate with those members who are truly concerned with what concerns God.

Regularly tell your church family that you are not interested in swapping church members with other churches, but your interest lies in reaching those who do not know God.

As you go through your transition, you will grow some. At times, however, you will feel that you are taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps backward. You must remember that you are setting the stage for multiplication growth in the future, so stay on track.

As we have continued through our process of transition as a church, we have also continued to bring those individuals into our church family who do not have “the baggage” of how church should be done. Since these people have no previous experience with church, they are willing to do church the way God wants it done. As you emphasize your church’s responsibility to reach the lost, it is imperative that you get your church involved in missions to extend the reach of your church to the entire world.

Graciously Release Those Members Who Choose To Leave
(Luke 9:5; 1 John 2:19)

You must remember that the transition will not please everyone - that would be impossible. Do not abandon your vision to appease a person or even a group of persons who choose to leave. God will send other leaders to take their place.

This is the most difficult part of the process for some pastors because we are wired to please people. You must remember that pleasing God is what matters; besides, the church does not belong to you or a disgruntled church member. It belongs to Jesus Christ. We are simply called to do what God says is best for His church.

Our church family has continued to grow through this process of transition. However, we have also lost members. I have been personally maligned and even attacked. Transition is a painful process, and often, it is the pastor who bears the brunt of the pain. Remember that you are carrying out God’s plan for His church. Your reward is coming. Stay faithful.

Celebrate the Completion of Each Advance
(John 15:11; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 126:5; Isaiah 12:3; John 16:24; Romans 14:17)

Celebration builds momentum. No matter how insignificant your advances seem, find a way to celebrate each of them. The more “wins” you get behind you, the greater your momentum to move to the next stage.

Just before our church family voted to change the name of our church, I met with every small group of our church to celebrate the miracles that God had done to bring our church to that point and to enlist their support for the name change. Those celebrations gave us a huge momentum boost that laid a positive foundation for our name change. If it is not possible for you to meet with every small group or class in your church, then meet with those that you know will wield the greatest influence in your church.

Always Honor Jesus
(Psalm 34:3; John 3:14-17; John 8:28; John 12:32-34; John 14:6)

Never take the credit when things go well. Thank the staff and teams who help make it happen. Ultimately, however, bring the honor to Jesus for every step you take. You cannot complete this process without His help.

If you are trying to transition a church to see how much recognition you can garner for yourself, you will be terribly disappointed. The reward for transitioning a church will only be fully realized in heaven.

It is important for a transitioning church to be seeker-sensitive, ensuring that it creates an environment that welcomes the seeker and provides clearly understood directions to connect with God and His church.

However, the transitioning church cannot be seeker-driven, seeking to exalt the seeker above Jesus Christ. Only Jesus deserves the honor of our focus in worship and life. As He is exalted, He will draw men to Him. The spiritually minded members of your church will understand this.

Our church family recently voted to change its name from Second Baptist Church to The Church at Crossgate Center. The selling point for the name change was that our name should lift up Jesus rather than create questions. We also developed a new logo that is non-threatening to the unchurched, but that can be easily used by members of our church family to share their faith. There is genuine excitement in our church family about the birth of our new church. Remember, the church belongs to Jesus - not you.

How to transition an established church – Part 3

Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks
(Proverbs 3:5-7)

There will be times when you will have to step out, on faith, to proceed with the transition without fully understanding how you can take the next step. This will more than likely happen when you engage in your first major building program.

Many churches in need of transition are occupying older facilities in deteriorating communities. In our case, we were meeting in an auditorium that was built in 1953. Our church had also been at this location for 100 years. For our church to see the need to relocate and to build new facilities, it was vitally important that our church family see our facilities as one of the greatest hindrances to our ministry.

This is a delicate procedure because there are still people in our church family who helped build our facilities some 50 years ago. In time, however, as the church goes through its changes and as the cost of maintaining the current facilities becomes apparent, the church can be led to see the need for new facilities.

The first decision we led our church to make was the decision to relocate to a new site. Our rationale was that we were land-locked at our current site, having to purchase additional property by buying houses that were of no use to us. The real estate around us cost us far more than it would cost to purchase the acreage we needed on one of the thoroughfares coming into our city.

We eventually purchased quite a few acres on the major highway entering our city only to learn - after we had made the purchase - that the bypass being built around our city was going to intersect the major highway at our property. Overnight, the value of our acreage more than doubled. Our church family, excited by this news, rallied to pay off the property in one year so that we now own it debt free.

We are currently engaged in the construction of a church facility that, honestly, will require God to complete. If God doesn’t come through on this, we are sunk. This is the largest risk that our church has ever undertaken. Believe me; it is being approached with much prayer.

We are convinced, however, that it is a very necessary part of our transition. Constructing a new facility for a transitioning church in a county-seat city is very different from constructing a facility for a newly planted church. Building a new facility, preferably at a new location, sends a huge message to the city in which you – the transitioning church - is located. It says, “We are a new church,” and people will come to investigate. The new facility creates a buzz of curiosity in the city.

For that reason, you must wait to construct the new facility only after you have sufficiently transitioned the church, so that it is a new church occupying a new facility. It does no good to build a new facility if you’re still doing church as usual. You will not be able to retain the people who come to check out the new building.

It took our church eleven years to get to the point where we were ready to build our new facilities. It will take time. As you prepare to transition to your new facility, remember that while the new building is important, you must guard against it becoming the defining element of your church’s ministry. Do not limit the ministry of your church to the new building.

Remember, it is simply a tool, a launching pad, from which you launch significant ministries into the homes and families of your city.

Keep Your Sense of Humor
(James 1:2; Proverbs 17:22)

Since you will be living within the transition of your church for a long time, it is important that you enjoy the journey rather than viewing it as a drudgery that you must tolerate until you can get through it and arrive at significant ministry.

Transitioning a church is significant ministry. Laugh your way through the process. Give people permission to make mistakes. Take the blame when you blow it and laugh about it. The more joy you infuse into the process, the better received it will be by your church family. The process of transition will not go well unless all involved choose to “consider it joy.”

Constantly Pray for God’s Wisdom
(James 1:5-8)

You must pray for God’s wisdom in each decision you face in transitioning a church, and you must encourage the people of the church to pray with you for God’s wisdom for the church. I cannot overstate the importance of this.

You must start this practice of prayer before you begin the transition, and you must never stop. We started a prayer ministry in our church we called the Prayer Wall. People were invited to sign up for one hour each week. This ministry is led by our Prayer Coordinator, a volunteer from our church family, and now consists of two complete prayer walls. That means 2 people are praying every hour of every day (24/7) for the church and its leaders. This transition cannot be done without prayer.

Maintain Your Personal Integrity and Your Walk with God
(Ephesians 4:14-16; Romans 8:29; James 2:18; James 3:13)

Due to the extreme pressure you will face as you transition your church, it is imperative that you maintain the daily spiritual disciplines: prayer, personal Bible Study, quiet meditation, and Bible memorization.

There will be tremendous temptations to do the expedient or to manipulate the people to make the process easier. There are no shortcuts in this process. The few times I have tried to engage in a shortcut have always proved disastrous. This has happened most often when I have entrusted a part of the transition process to a leader in our church that had not fully connected with our vision.

For that reason, you must walk through this process with total dependence on God, asking Him to help you keep your motives pure and your heart sensitive to His slightest nudge. I have learned that you must say what you mean and mean what you say. You must let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No.”

Remember, we do not take a church through this transition to be recognized or rewarded here: all that comes later, when we meet Jesus.

Changing worship: how to transition an established church – Part 4

Simultaneously Transition Your Worship Style as you change
 (Psalm 150; Psalm 100; Psalm 96:1-3)

This will be, by far, the most controversial part of the transition process. People have strong preferences in regard to worship styles to which they assign spiritual significance. This part of the transition process must be handled delicately over an extended period of time or you could sabotage the whole process.

Those who are planting churches do not have to contend with this issue, and, unfortunately, many pastors trying to transition their churches think they can treat their transitioning church like a church plant. That is a fatal mistake. You cannot jerk a transitioning church into a new worship style. You must practice extreme patience to help your church make the necessary change to a worship style that will directly impact those who do not know God.

For our church family, this has been an eleven year process that is still continuing. We took the following steps, each building on the other, to secure this transition:

Preaching Change - Begin the transition with your preaching. Preach the Bible in such a way as to demonstrate how the Scriptures can meet people’s needs. Stay at this step for one year before moving to the next step to allow for an influx of new people who are drawn by the relevant teaching.

Worship Planning - Form a worship planning team that will help you plan services to correspond with the message so that all songs match the theme of the message. Introduce video projection of sermon notes and words of the songs at this point.

Hymn Arrangements - Introduce new arrangements of favorite hymns.

Introduce Some Praise Choruses - Start with a new chorus of the month.

Gradually increase the number of choruses, gauging the response of your church family as you go. Some will readily embrace this change. Others will gradually come along. Still others will reject this outright -- try to help them see the validity of what you are doing.

Move Into a Blended Service - This will happen naturally as you continue to introduce praise choruses.

Begin to Use a Praise Team - This and the next step are the most challenging part of the worship transition. When some people see a Praise Team in front of them, they think, “We are changing,” and the reaction can be extreme.

Fortunately, our church accepted the leadership of our worship pastor, and we negotiated this part of the transition fairly smoothly, but it took us a good three years to get to this point. For those churches that do not readily accept this change, the alternative solution is to continue the more traditional service while starting a contemporary service at an alternative time.

If that is not acceptable to many in the church, try starting a contemporary service at an alternative location, explaining that you are one church in 2 locations, reaching as broad a spectrum of people as possible. It must be understood that these alternative services should be started only as a very last resort and only after the investment of a great deal of time and energy to ensure that the church has ownership of these services.

The potential for dissension and disunity in the church as a result of these different services is significant. There will be a better time for starting these alternative services, as I will explain later. However, if alternative services are the only way you can proceed with the transition, then move forward with extreme caution. It will be painful and tough. Stay the course and keep a gracious spirit. You will survive.

Introduce Other Instruments - Gradually de-emphasize the piano and organ while introducing other instruments like guitars and drums. This transition can be started with Sunday night services and carefully introduced to Sunday morning. For those churches who do not have Sunday night services, one option is to start a week night praise service that utilizes these other instruments.

One good way to begin this transition is with previously recorded music, which allows you time to recruit a praise band and gradually incorporate them into the worship service.

One strategy that works extremely well is to launch a monthly youth service, explaining to your church family that this service will be targeting the youth of your city or area, so the worship must be something that would appeal to them. Encourage the entire church family to attend to show their “support” of the youth. After some extended exposure to this service, the worship on Sunday morning will seem mild in comparison.

Diversify Your Approach to Worship - This, too, must be done gradually. However, once you have passed the previous two steps, you have traversed the most difficult part of the worship transition. At times you will need to increase the tempo of worship to become more celebrative. At other times, the worship should be slowed down to allow for more reflection.

Introduce Drama, Video Illustrations, and Testimonies into the Service - This transition will be easy for the church family and tougher on the pastor and worship planning team. At this step, the pastor must prepare sermons far enough in advance to allow the worship planning team more time to prepare dramas, find video illustrations or enlist testimonies. At this point, additional ministries can be birthed that offer direct input into the worship service, for example, a drama ministry.

Start Praise Teams and Worship Training with Your Children and Youth - This will ensure that the worship legacy continues in your church. We have children praise teams, as well as junior high and senior high praise teams and praise bands.

Begin a Teaching Team - Our church family is currently at this step of our transition. Identify a staff member or someone in the congregation who can regularly fill the pulpit for you, even when you are present. Meet regularly with this person and the worship planning team to ensure that communication and planning remain effective.

Our current plan calls for this person to teach once a month for the next few years, until our church family so readily accepts this arrangement that we can expand the teaching team.

Begin Multiple Services with Different Styles - The next step for our church is to begin two alternative services with two dramatically different styles of worship: a classic hymn service and a Southern-gospel service.

Due to the culture in which our church is located, these services will reach currently unchurched people who were either exposed to church as a child and remember the hymns or those who prefer country music, which is the predominant preference in our culture.

This raises the question of why wait until now to start these services? Why not start them earlier in the process?

These services are started at this time because the motivation behind them is to reach the unchurched, not provide a collecting place for members who are upset over the worship transition. If these services are started sooner in the process, then those who are unhappy with the worship transition could take the services hostage, causing these services to become breeding grounds for disunity in the church rather than opportunities to reach the unchurched.

Give ministry to the people: how to transition an established church – Part 5

Transition The Ministry Of The Church To The People And The Maintenance Of The Church To The Staff/Volunteer or Paid
(Ephesians. 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians. 12:12-31)

Without this specific change, there will be no permanence to your transition. Since this will be at least as difficult as the worship transition (especially in a church that has an ingrained, unhealthy power group controlling the church), this transition must be done in stages:

The pastor and/or staff must commit to empowering people to do ministry
This is especially tough in a transitioning church because of the expectations that most established churches have that ministry is to be done by the pastor and/or staff. You must teach the church the role of pastor and staff and the responsibilities that all believers have as ministers. Every church member a minister must become the motto of your church.

Establish your church purpose. 
Once you’ve arrived at the purpose for your church, then ensure that each member understands the value of adopting this purpose as their personal purpose. It is essential that the church purpose reflect the five purposes of a New Testament church: Worship, Discipleship, Fellowship, Evangelism, and Ministry.

The purpose of our church is - “To grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ; His family; and the world, our neighbor.” We’ve taught our church family that we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ through worship and discipleship; that we grow in our relationship with his family through fellowship; and that we grow in our relationship with the world, our neighbor, through evangelism and ministry.

In our purpose we emphasize the two key words: grow and relationship. We encourage our church family to understand that to grow we must be alive and changing, so that we are all always in transition. We also encourage them to understand that the emphasis must be on the permanence we enjoy in our relationships, not our circumstances.

The relationships we share with Jesus Christ and each other, coupled with the compelling concern we have to reach the world, our neighbor, become the unchanging pillars we build our church on as we work our way through our transition.

Train new members. 
You must challenge your new members, through the New Members’ Class, to not only embrace the purpose of the church, but to think of themselves as ministers. Help them identify their passion for ministry and then give them practical steps to take to either launch a new ministry of their choosing or to connect with an existing ministry that matches their passion.

Teach all members what involvement in the church means. 
In a transitioning church, many of the “core” members are tired because they have operated for years with the idea that their spirituality is determined by how many times they show up at the church building. They have been taught that they should be there for every activity every time the church building is opened. You must start a re-education process at the very beginning of the transition.

Teach your church members that it is your goal to start so many new ministries in the church that they could not possibly participate in all of them if they wanted to. Show them that this is the only way to extend the reach of your church to those who need to be drawn into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Tell them that you love them and you do not want them to burn out trying to keep up, nor do you want them to neglect their families for the church. They must give primary attention to their homes.

For some, this will be a difficult part of the transition because it runs counter to what they have been told for so long. They will struggle with guilt because guilt has been used consistently through the years to motivate them to do ministry. For others, however, they will be like birds set free from a cage.

Some of those who have difficulty with this part of the transition will leave your church. It is just too much for them to handle. They have attempted to serve God so long from an unhealthy perspective that they simply will not change.  Watching them leave your church will break your heart. You love them, and you want what is best for them, but you must let them go for the health of the church.

Teach your church members that involvement in the church means three things:
        weekly worship participation,
        weekly small group participation,
        and weekly ministry participation.

Ask them to give time every week to each of these activities. We encourage our members to get involved in a Fellowship Bible Study class (formerly Sunday school) as a means of small group participation. Through a restructuring of our FBS classes, we ensure that four of the five purposes of the church can be fulfilled by each member as they participate in their class.

Through a study of the scripture, they are discipled. As they grow closer to each other in their group, they grow in fellowship. Inviting their friends who need to have an encounter with God to their class helps them carry out the purpose of evangelism. They can elect to either involve themselves in a ministry through their class or give extra time to ministering through one of the needs-based ministries of our church. Their attendance at a weekly worship service should round out their involvement in the five purposes for the week.

A future goal of our transition process will be to launch in-home community groups that will give the same opportunities to those involved to accomplish the five purposes while moving into even deeper relationships. The culture of our church dictates that we will always have FBS classes for those who prefer that outlet.

To some people in the Bible Belt, church is not church without Sunday school, and that’s acceptable as long as those involved are fulfilling the five purposes. We teach our members that their involvement at this level does not allow for participation in mundane committee meetings. There are just too many exciting ways their time can be used to make a difference in people’s lives. The staff will handle the mundane part.

Identify the power group in your church.  
This will not be difficult. As soon as you start making these ministry changes, they will identify themselves. They will wonder how all these activities and ministries are beginning without their approval. This group could be a family, if you are in a smaller church, or it could be a group of families that have controlled the church through the years (usually by controlling how the money is spent).

More often than not, it will involve an official group in the church, either a board or committee. In our case, the power group in the church was the deacons. Every decision had to be voted on by the deacons. To start a new ministry required five votes by the church (to start the ministry, allocate budget monies, etc.), each preceded by votes of the deacons. All committees of the church reported to the deacons. There was little question who was running the church.

Move the power group toward a servant role. 
As ministries are launched and as people are empowered to carry out ministry, you will head toward conflict with the power structure of the church, if that power structure is unhealthy as it was in our church. This part of the process is not for the faint-hearted. It will be the toughest part of the entire transition, but it can be done.

We embarked on an education process with the total church to redefine the role of the deacon as servant rather than ruler. As new ministries began to be launched (women’s ministry, men’s ministry, children’s ministry, and other entrepreneurial ministries), the sheer volume of the decisions being made overloaded the traditional bureaucratic process of the church.

The deacons realized that business as usual would not work, and the people of the church wanted the freedom to launch and engage in ministry free of the red tape that had previously defined any new initiatives in our church. This came to a climax when the deacons asked for my resignation as the pastor. When I refused because of the call God had given me to transition the church, the deacons brought it to the church for a vote. When the vote failed, the door was opened to make the changes that needed to be made.

It does not always have to go to the point of a potential dismissal to effect change in the power structure of the church. The intensity of the conflict will be determined by how unhealthy the existing power structure happens to be. Our power structure was extremely unhealthy.

Deacons were elected for life with no rotation system and no means of holding them accountable for their personal actions. Many of the deacons had ceased any active participation in the church, except for involvement in deacons’ meetings. It became obvious that transitioning our church would require a major confrontation with the deacons. While it was certainly painful, it allowed our church to experience the freedom God intended for us to have so that we could fulfill the purpose he had for us. Immediately after this confrontation, we moved to establish our new structure.

Change the structure of the church.  As we moved into the transition, we formed two Task Forces to help us achieve specific goals: first, to arrive at our purpose; secondly, to develop a structure that allowed our church to achieve its potential. The structure we adopted as a church used the body as its model - taken from 1 Corinthians 12 - and dissolved our committees in favor of ministry teams.

As part of this structural change, we dissolved the Nominating Committee, which placed church members into various ministry positions, and the Committee on Committees, which established the different committees to oversee the various ministries of the church. No longer was it necessary for committees or the church to “approve” someone’s ministry. Using our spiritual gifts test, each member was encouraged to engage in the ministry that best reflected their passion in keeping with their spiritual gift.

Each new member was catalogued by spiritual gift and cross referenced by passion. This record was kept by our discipleship office. Whenever it became necessary to fill a ministry position, we could now simply refer to our computer to see which spiritual gift matched that position, then cross reference that spiritual gift with the spiritual gifts of our members who were not currently serving.

The next step became to cross reference that list of members with a passion for that area of service. From the list of members that remained, we could place someone in a ministry position that matched their spiritual gift and passion. No longer do we use guilt to motivate someone to engage in ministry. This step alone has greatly reduced the frustration level in our church family.

Our church family readily embraced this new process when we explained that our goal was to end the red tape and bureaucratic entanglement of our church so we could choose to de-emphasize rules in favor of relationships. This step was in keeping with our recently adopted church purpose. Our structure was genuinely unique to our church family, using the scripture as its model.

We chose to dissolve all committees and go with three standing teams and numerous ministry teams:

(A) Trustees - This team meets once a quarter or as needed to handle any legal matters that pertain to the church. The senior pastor is a permanent member of this team.

(B) Deacons - This team was assigned a role of maintaining unity in the church, which, according to Acts 6, was the role given to those selected as the first potential deacons. This team meets once a month to discuss how to deal with situations or members that are creating disunity in the body.

(C) Budget and Finance Team - This team meets, as needed, with only one purpose - to ensure that the cash flow of the church is secure.

(D) Ministry Teams - These teams can be formed by anyone to meet as often as the team deems necessary to carry out its ministry. No restrictions are placed on who goes onto these ministry teams. Each ministry team is empowered to spend the budget funds that correspond to their ministry. No one votes on who goes on these teams or on whether the team should exist or not. The budget and finance team simply reviews all expenditures of all teams to ensure that the church does not overextend itself.

We thoroughly explain this process to our new members through the New Members’ Class on spiritual gifts. We tell them, “We ain’t your mama’s church,” so that those who come to our church from other church backgrounds will know that we will do things differently.

Change the church bylaws to reflect the new structure
In a desire to do away with the bureaucracy our church had become, we voted overwhelmingly to do away with our 100-pages of by-laws in favor of a six-page Charter that established our church as a new church. These six pages solidified the structural change, but also allowed our church the flexibility to be the church God intended us to be.

Transition from frequent business meetings to an annual business meeting. 
One of the major problems in many transitioning churches is the monthly business meeting. As part of the structure change, it is important to move the church away from the need to vote on everything and to trust their leaders to make certain decisions. For those churches finding it difficult to implement an annual business meeting, one alternative is to transition to quarterly business meetings with the idea that you will later move to the annual business meeting.

It is imperative that the pastor provide leadership to those business meetings to ensure that the church’s transition is not derailed during a business meeting. Those members who are most disgruntled will often use Robert’s Rules of Order to try to manipulate the business meeting to their advantage. The pastor must emphasize that Scriptures - not Robert’s Rules of Order - will dictate how the church conducts itself in all matters, including its business.

Some church members, especially those who have been involved in the power structure of the church, will have a difficult time with this part of the transition. For that reason, you must empower as many people in the church as possible to make decisions that affect their ministries without subjecting them or their ministries to a vote by the church. You must release your church members to start new ministries as they desire.

In our annual business meeting, we vote on our church budget, and by “yes” or “no” vote on those who will occupy our three standing teams. Members serve three years on these teams and then rotate off. The church staff prepares the budget for the church vote, having oversight of the budget process. This is in keeping with transferring the maintenance of the church to the staff.

Special business meetings can be called if monies outside the budget are needed for something such as a land purchase. Our annual business meeting is usually done in conjunction with my sharing a “State of the Church” message.

The senior pastor must assume full responsibility to hire or fire staff.
 This alleviates the need for a personnel committee and helps the staff understand how the chain of supervision operates. The church does not vote on either the establishment of a staff position or who occupies that position. Each staff member is evaluated on the anniversary of their arrival on staff, and the pastor determines the raise they will receive for the next year. The staff raises are divided into two parts: a merit raise and a cost-of-living raise, with a total percentage cap that is written into the budget.

The staff are evaluated on the basis of whether or not they have achieved the goals established at the annual spring retreat where our yearly strategic plan is developed. Each staff member arrives at specific goals for their ministry and maintenance areas. The completion of these goals becomes the strategic plan by which we operate for the year. The senior pastor assumes responsibility for the overall vision and direction of the church. We are currently reorganizing our staff to ensure that we have a staff member responsible for each of the five purposes of the church.

Form task forces where necessary to complete certain tasks
Whenever a specific need arises, form a task force of limited duration to meet those specific challenges. For instance, in preparation for our relocation, we formed a task force to facilitate the sale of our current facilities. This task force, composed of real estate experts, negotiated a top-dollar sale of our old facilities to another church, ensuring that our facilities will continue to be used for God’s kingdom.

Become entrepreneurial in launching new ministries.The freedom given to our church by our new structure has resulted in an environment of freedom for establishing new ministries. Our favorite word has become entrepreneur to describe the ministers who make up the members of our church.  Let me give you two examples:

A desire to reach the men of our area resulted in the launching of a weekly television program, AdventureBound Outdoors, which uses hunting videos to attract men as viewers. Each program includes a clear presentation of the gospel. The program was good enough that the Outdoor Channel picked it up. It is now shown in millions of homes and has won the award as the number one program on the entire Outdoor Channel. Records indicate that hundreds of men are praying to receive Jesus as their Savior each month through this program. Spin-off programs from other churches are now being planned.

Another example is a ministry called CARE. This ministry prepares a lunch for the family members of patients in the Intensive Care Unit of our local hospitals. Each day a team goes to the ICU waiting rooms of each of the hospitals in our city to feed lunch to and minister to the family members of the patients. Needless to say, the impact of this ministry is far reaching as each family member is not only physically fed a meal, but has someone from the team share the love and truth of Jesus with them. Other churches are now participating with us in this important ministry.

We have truly become a church set free!

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