Thursday, April 02, 2009

What is Theological Ministry?

"Youth ministers have been on a long and frustrating quest of their own over the past two decades or so. Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment. But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination." (Time Magazine)

Some things never change and some things shouldn't. Ministry isn't about being able to keep up with the latest fads in an attempt to be relevant or using the latest and greatest curriculum it is about fulfilling the mission God has given to the church. Theological ministry is about making God's mission our mission and it is about staying true to those things that never changes. Just as God does not change so the truths of God do not change. In Mt. 7 Jesus the story of the man who built his house on the Rock and the one who built his house on the sand. In order to have a long lasting ministry or to last long in ministry it is essential that we build a good foundation for our ministry.

The first question that must be answered when we think theologically about ministry is this, "What are the foundational truths upon which a disciple and ultimately a ministry is built?" That is a loaded questions that demands a well thought out response. Time magazine made some great observations. Ministry and ministers are definitely becoming more focused on the deeper foundational truths of the faith, but they also made a mistake. The foundational truths of the Christian faith never changed and healthy ministries have always realized the significance of doctrine in faith and in practice.

The first step in building a theological ministry is answering the question I asked in the last paragraph. In my last post I mentioned something called a DDP (Discription of a Discipled Person). This document is one way of answering the above question.

For a practical approach to this issue begin by answering these questions:
  • What doctrines are non-negotiable? (This should not a be a long list, it is not a doctrinal statement)
  • What does a fully devoted follower of Jesus need to know?
  • What does a fully devoted follower need to be able to do?
  • How can we help students know these things and develop these skills in our ministries?

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