Holistic Ministry

Not too long ago I attended a conference of a church from Katy, Texas sharing about what God is doing in their fellowship and area.  The key element came down to this idea of having a holistic approach to the ministries within their church.  If you're not familiar with this concept, where have you been?  It seems to be popping up everywhere you turn around.  The basic idea is that instead of having different ministries (children, youth, adults, men, women, etc) all doing their own thing, you would have them all aligned in one direction under one mission.

This has been something that I believe God has been dealing with me in ministry about for quite some time now.  Most of the places that I've attended and served have been places where the different areas were just doing their own thing.  You might see the children's ministry heading in one direction while the student ministry was going in a completely different direction... all the while, the adults had no real clue as to what was going on and were just going down their little road.  For some reason, this has seemed to be the norm in ministry for some time.

I honestly believe that the huge "drop-out" rate of students from our churches might be a little skewed.  I don't argue that there are many who are leaving the church as a whole, but I wonder if there are some that are leaving the "style" church they grew up in.  Let me paint the scenario... you have a children's ministry and student ministry that is told to "think outside the box" and "meet the kids where they are" in their approach to ministry.  The moment they leave the student ministry, there might be the place where they are told that creative sermons, praise songs, casual attire, and more are "childish" and should be left behind.  It's time to grow up.

If we train someone for 18 years or more to learn about God and worship in an "out-of-the-box" mentality, then what do we expect when we take that away from them and tell them to "get in line."  I truly think that there are many students who are not necessarily leaving the church as a whole... they're just leaving the splintered church they grew up in.  They are searching for something that looked like what they were trained to see in children's and student ministry.

This is where I think it is vitally important that there be a single strategy in carrying out the mission that God has given us.  Is every church to look the same?  Of course not.  Just as there is diversity in people, there needs to be diversity in churches.  A single strategy though will make the transition of a person through the different stages of life much easier in the church.

One thing from this conference that I took away is that for this holistic approach to happen, a few factors need to be in place:

  • Clear values - know what you as a church value

  • Clear mission - the Great Commission

  • Clear strategy - the way that you as a church will carry out the mission

To read more about this strategy that we heard about at this conference check out the legacy milestones website.


Troy Comer said...

Could not agree more, we train them in a different style of worship, then say now that your older you must worship this way, gives students a mixed signal. So if your worship is piano and oragan should your Student worship be a piano and organ? Just a thought. Love the blog.
Met some of your guys working at our church this week, they had good things to say about you