As we continued to wrestle with what that discipleship meant, we began to get stuck on how we would know if we were making progress. What were the metrics we could use to see if we were actually doing what we said we felt called to do? We knew that we could not just use the church’s operating budget or our worship attendance numbers to tell us if the discipleship priority was taking hold.
Accountability is one of the most challenging practices for the church and certainly for pastors. But accountability is not just the responsibility of a pastor alone. I’ve come to see it function best not so much as a practice, but as a culture.
Today, we’re sharing the second sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we’ll release in full this fall. This preview is from the first movement of the guide: theology as assessment.
Initially, I thought this was a very effective way to lead – especially given the fact that most of what I’d seen growing up gave me the impression that ministry effectiveness is about the numbers. However, as I grew and became more experienced as a ministry leader, I started to become ambivalent and increasingly weary with the “sexy ministry” approach.
Asking the theological “why?” has transformed the Board and its programs. This theological understanding is embedded in everything we do, seeking well-being for those who serve Christ’s Church in the four critical arenas of health, spirituality, finance, and vocation.
When we worship a set of numbers, they become our identity. We are rewarded or punished by what we believe these numbers say about us.
Today, we’re excited to share the first sneak peek of the Field Guide for Cultivated Ministry, which we’ll release in full this fall. This preview is from the guide’s introduction, which debuts the concept of “cultivated ministry” and defines its four movements: theology, accountability, learning, and storytelling.
As we wrestled with these questions, we learned that we had skipped a step in our efforts to quickly address our congregational crises. We had moved directly from the observations of our perceived problems to interventions we thought would address them.
A few years ago, NEXT Church convened some creative, talented leaders to talk together about the ways in which the church is collaboratively starting and supporting new ministries. In the room were leaders from large, established congregations, leaders from small upstart ministry ventures, and everything in between.
When I began my ministry as the Associate for Stewardship for the Presbytery of the James, I put together a list of what I consider to be the top ten things we need to know about stewardship. This is a great place to start the conversation with your stewardship leaders.