Our Philosophy of Ministry (Why We Exist)
A philosophy of ministry is a grid, guide, or funnel through which every ministry activity, decision, and plan is sifted, evaluated, and protected. This set of non-negotiable guiding principles must be fundamentally biblical, flowing from an intense investigation and application of the Scriptures. Thus, a philosophy of ministry provokes a continual interaction with and appropriation between what the church believes (Theology), why the church exists (Philosophy), and how the church functions (Methodology). Therefore, a biblical philosophy of ministry is foundational to fruitful service that pleases the Lord (1Cor 10:24-27; 1Thess 2:1-4; 2 Tim 2:4-5) as it greatly serves and strengthens the church through providing ministry clarity, unity, and proficiency. Henceforth, the philosophy of ministry serves as an inseparable link between the doctrines of the church and the duties of the church by providing a practical map to guide the direction of the church.
The Ultimate Goal
God’s glory (Ps 96; 115; Isa 42:8; 43:7) is the ultimate purpose of all things (Rom 11:36; Rev 4:8-11) including the church (1 Pet 4:11) and is inseparably linked to redemption (Eph 1:12-14) through which regenerate man has the desire and ability (2 Cor 3:18-4:6) to please and praise God in everything (1 Cor 10:31). Thus, the church was established for God’s glory and is a primary means through which He is exalted (Eph 3:21) as she shares, defends, teaches, and embodies His truth (1 Tim 3:15). Henceforth, true worship (Jn 4:24) which flows from an accurate understanding of the person of God gleaned from a personal appropriation of the Scriptures (Col 3:16-17; 2 Tim 3:16) directs and protects every endeavor of the church including the corporate gathering of believers each Lord’s Day (Heb 12:28). Yet, the church is constantly under attack from deceitful teachers that arise from within (Acts 20:29-30) and divisive ideologies that come from without (Col 2:8; 2 Pet 3:17) that seek to denigrate the authority of God’s Word and the primacy of God’s glory. Therefore, developing, defining, and delineating a Scripturally sound philosophy is one of the most pivotal parts of ministry preparation that will help ensure the church’s integrity to biblical fidelity as she seeks to impact a world marked by depravity. I have concisely categorized my personal philosophy of ministry under four main headings, which serve as pillars both supporting and promoting the life and ministry of the church to ensure that everything is done to the praise of God’s glory.
Below is the specific ministry philosophy through which we proactively seek to fulfill this ultimate goal…
- To Exalt: A biblical philosophy of ministry that seeks the ultimate adoration and glory of God (Rev 4:8-11) begins with the exaltation of His Son (Rev 5:6-14; Phil 2:9-11; Heb 12:3). The church was purchased through the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28), is guided by the Word of Christ (Col 3:16), is being prepared as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25-29), lives to proclaim the gospel of Christ (Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 1:17-2:5) for the purpose of making disciples of Christ (Matt 28:18-20), as she abides under the supreme leadership, sufficient guidance and sovereign protection of Christ (Col 1:18). Therefore, the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 1:16; 2 Pet 3:18) serves as the first non-negotiable principle and pillar that provokes the duty and guides the direction of the church (Col 1:28). Thus, every ministry of the church must seek to serve and exist in such a way that the excellences of Christ (Rev 1:4-8) are seen and heard in all that is said and done (Col 3:17; 1Pet 4:8-11). This will be accomplished as the church worships reverentially in awe of Christ (Rev 5:6-14), serves sacrificially with the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-8; Matt 20:26-28), and lives obediently to the glory of Christ (2Thess 1:11-12).
- To Exposit: The absolute authority of the Word of God is undeniable, as the Scriptures stand totally without error (Ps 19:7-9), completely infallible (John 10:35), and supremely sufficient (2 Pet 1:3-4) in all that it proclaims and provides (Prov 30:5-6) because the Bible is the very oracle of God (1 Thess 2:13) and the place where He is primarily revealed. Thus, the Word serves as the ultimate source of truth (John 17:17) and the solid foundation for the life and mission of the church (2 Pet 1:19-21). Furthermore, it is the Scriptures that promote her duty (Matt 28:18-20), propel her purity (Eph 5:26-27), protect her testimony (1 Pet 2:12), and proclaim her validity (2 Tim 4:1-5) in the world. Therefore, expositing the Word of God so that it is accurately understood and practically applied is an immutable pillar in the church’s philosophy that will ground her motives and guard her ministry to the glory of God (1 Tim 3:15).
- To Edify: The building up of the body of Christ (Acts 20:32) is a pivotal purpose (Eph 4:11-16) and essential practice of the church (1 Thess 5:11) that further enables the saints to live and serve (Eph 4:29) in the unity of the faith (1 Cor 14:12, 26). Thus, God designed each local gathering of the redeemed to be nurtured along (1 Thess 1:5-12) in their obedience to Him and their sacrificial care of one another (Heb 10:24-25; Phil 2:3-4) as they progressively grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ together (2 Pet 3:17-18). Therefore, the spiritual edification of all who believe is another indisputable buttress that both protects and propels the mission of the church.
- To Equip: Godly leaders and a healthy Church will always seek to equip the saints to serve (Eph 4:11-12; Eph 2:10) through passionately instructing them in the Truth (2 Tim 4:2; Col 1:28) both theologically and practically (Titus 2:1-15), through active discipleship that is both formal and informal (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 20:20; 2 Tim 2:2), through personal exhortation that encourages the weak (1 Thess 4:18) and admonishes the wayward (1 Thess 5:14-15; Titus 1:13), and through living as an example (1 Pet 5:1-3) of Christ likeness that motivates maturity (Acts 20:20; 1 Tim 4:12, 15-16; 2 Tim 3:10-11). Moreover, it is paramount that this practical preparation “for ministry” be inseparably linked to actually helping believers get involved into the work of ministry (Rom 1:3-8). Hence, equipping and enlisting accentuates spiritual growth as saints exercise spiritual giftedness (1 Pet 4:10-11) through serving the Body individually, which ultimately strengthens the Body corporately (Eph 4:16).
- To Evangelize: Taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost both locally and globally is an undeniable command (Matt 28:19-20), a primary purpose (Rom 10:14-17), and main reason (Acts 1:8) why the church continues to exist in this world (Jn 17:17-18; 20:21). This authoritative, unequivocal and all-inclusive mission to reach the world (Mk 16:15) with the gospel (Lk 24:44-49) is ultimately driven by the glory and worship of God (Rom 11:36; Eph 3:21; 1 Pet 2:9-12) so that His name may be great among the nations (Ps 67; 117:1-2; 2 Cor 4:15). Therefore, biblical evangelism is not about securing decisions for Christ but making every effort, under the sovereign grace of God (Jn 1:12-13; 6:44; Acts 13:48; Titus 3:5-7; James 1:18), to see that every person who walks in darkness (Col 1:12-14) becomes a lifelong worshipper, devoted disciple, and a humble follower of Christ (Lk 9:23-27)!