Transforming Church Team Blog
resourcing leaders…reenvisioning the future

Inward Focused Part 3- Who Is Most Important, The Minister Or Those Being Ministered To ?

Rich Hurst

Rich Hurst

For me the hidden tension between the importance of the minister and those being ministered to was difficult to see. When I first worked under a philosophy of ministry called “Unleashing the Church,” I was taught our primary motivation was to minister to the broken and poor. But over the years our thinking changed. The primary motivation for the unleashing the church philosophy became to encourage the minister rather than to minister to the needy.

Slowly we began to realize that the dignity of the laity is at stake in the attitudes church leaders have toward mission. The leader’s attitudes will determine who has the opportunity to be a Mission Somebody and who doesn’t. If a church does not provide an infrastructure where everyone’s call to ministry can be recognized and valued it will be a church with a lot of Mission Nobodies and a few Mission Somebodies.
Surfacing hidden Mission Tensions, in their historical contexts, helps us understand them. How did churches in the U.S. become so inward focused? What happened after World War II to create a fertile environment for the greatest explosion of parachurch organizations in 2,000 years? Why have successful churches become so dependent on their “up-front” programs? Why are so many people groups, for example the physically disabled, so underrepresented in churches? Hopefully in my following blogs we can discuss at least nine Mission Tensions that may provide some answers.  (To read parts 1 and 2 of Inward Focused by Rich Hurst click on his name on the menu bar on the right side of this page.)

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