A Biblical And Contemporary Model Of Ministry -- By: Brenda B. Colijn

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 27:0 (NA 1995)
Article: A Biblical And Contemporary Model Of Ministry
Author: Brenda B. Colijn


A Biblical And Contemporary Model Of Ministry

Brenda B. Colijn

Dr. Colijn (M.A., Ph.D., Cornell; M.A., ATS) is an adjunct instructor at ATS.)

Introduction

Every church operates with a model of ministry, whether conscious or unconscious. Developing an intentional model of ministry will force a congregation to ask itself crucial questions about its character and purpose. It will enable a congregation to sharpen the focus of its ministry, increase its ministry effectiveness, and integrate its members more fully into its life and witness. The following is an attempt to develop from biblical principles a ministry model that has contemporary relevance.

Figure 1 shows an overall model of ministry. The shape indicates

that ministry extends from the center of the church outward into the world. The model has four parts, with each part built upon the parts inside it. The center of the diagram (the innermost circle) represents the authority for the church’s ministry. The Jewish leaders asked Jesus with what authority he acted as he did (Mark 11:27–28). With what authorization does the church engage in ministry? From whom or what do we receive direction about what the church is to be and do? The next circle represents the identity of the church, what the church is to be. The church develops its identity on the basis of its sources of authority. The five-part ring surrounding the identity circle represents the church’s mission, what the church is to do. The church’s mission is based upon, and supported by, its sense of identity. The five points of the star represent the church’s vision, the specific programs and ministries an individual congregation engages in to fulfill its mission.1 The points of the star indicate the sharper focus required for particular ministries that will reach out into the world to achieve the church’s purpose in the world.2 In what follows, I will examine each of the four parts of the model in turn. I will sometimes illustrate my points by reference to Smoky Row Brethren Church, the congregation in which I serve as a deacon and lay leader.

Authority

Figure 2 is an expansion of the authority, identity, and mission circles from Figure 1. The inner circle (authority) has been expanded to show three parts: a cross, representing Christ; the Word, or Scripture; and the Holy Spirit. The authority for the church’s ministry is fundamentally Christocentric. In Matthew 28:18–20, Je...

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