Posts Tagged ‘unity’

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Reaching the Nations Among Us: Part 3 The Seven Fatal Errors of Ethnic Ministry: Error #1 – Lack of Unity

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Many conflicts between a host and immigrant church are the result of unfulfilled expectations. Unfulfilled because they were not expressed and written down prior to launching the immigrant ministry.

Here is a three step process I use to create a spirit of unity.  It takes me an average of eight months to walk a church through the first two steps.

1.  SOW the Vision. Helping people take ownership of a vision cannot be done in one 45-minute presentation. People need time to process the vision. 

·      The Pastor. The pastor is the key person. Nothing will be accomplished without the pastor’s full support.

·      The Leadership.  The leadership needs to work through the issues and ask all of the questions necessary before moving ahead. Only then can they confidently respond to questions from the congregation.

·      The Congregation. The congregation should receive the same information that the pastor and the leadership received. They are the ones that will have to give up exclusive use of facilities, worship styles, and leadership positions to reach all levels of assimilation within an immigrant group.

2.  SURVEY the Body.

·      Determine your acceptable losses. The leadership should determine the number of families or individuals they are willing to loose in order to implement an ethnic ministry. Whether you change your style of worship music, name, or drop Sunday school for small groups, there are always some who will leave the church.  It’s no different with starting an immigrant ministry.

·      Conduct an informal survey.  Following the Vision Casting to the congregation (I recommend a series of messages) divide the families of the church among the leadership and ask them what they think about the possibility of starting an ethnic ministry.  This casual survey will help you get some idea if you are within the range of acceptable losses.  If not, go back to casting the vision.  Consider some of the negative feedback received from the casual survey.  Address these concerns from a biblical perspective. Remember we are not asking for permission, we are preparing the hearts of our people for transition.

·      Conduct a formal survey.  Proceed with this step if the informal survey is positive. The purpose is to solicit the opinions, concerns and fears of the people so they can be addressed at an announced congregational meeting for this purpose. 

3.  SECURE a Covenant.

 A covenant outlines the commitments the church is wiling to make to launch an immigrant ministry.

·      Facility Use. The usage of rooms, days, and times for regular services and a process for requesting usage for special events and activities.  Rooms are no longer for the exclusive use of any one person or ministry.

·      Equipment Use.  The usage of audio/visual equipment for regular services and a process for requesting usage for special events and activities.

·      Chain of Command.

                   o     Ministry Leaders: Children’s, Youth, Audio-Video, Greeters, Ushers, etc… should provide training for counter parts in the immigrant church for continuity across language ministries regarding church policies, practices, and care of facilities and equipment.

                   o     The Immigrant Pastor and congregation must be aware of the church’s process and protocol for dealing with issues.

·      Finances. Since the immigrant ministry is part of the local church then all offerings go into the church treasury.  The church should create a line item(s) to cover the expenses of the immigrant ministry.  This should include, as soon as possible, the immigrant pastor’s compensation package.

That’s my opinion.  I welcome yours.

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What is the Biblical Concept of Unity?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What is the biblical concept of unity? This the second of a series of questions asked by David Hall, Escondido, CA

 

The pursuit of unity is not limited to the multi-ethnic church.  Every local body of believers, because of sin, is susceptible to attitudes and behaviors that can lead to conflicts, divisions, and the exclusion of people groups in their ministries.

That is why we are to strive for unity. The following is a brief outline of the biblical teaching on Unity.

·       Unity is the desire of Christ for his disciples, “I pray…that all of them may be one” (Jn. 17:20-21).

·       Unity is based on Word of God, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

·       Unity is lived out among believers, “those who will believe in me” (Jn. 17:20).

·       Unity is a testimony to the world of Christ’s coming, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn. 17:21); “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (Jn. 17:23).

·       Unity must be earnestly and sincerely pursued, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

·       Unity is achieved with love, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34, 35), “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sin” (1 Pet. 4:8),”Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1Jn. 3:18).

·       Unity is contingent upon certain character traits that are the result of spiritual growth: humility, gentleness, patience (Eph. 4:2), unselfishness (Phil. 2:3,4), kindness, goodness, meekness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), respect (Rom. 12:10; 1Pet. 2:17), and peace (Heb. 12:14; Js. 3:18).

·       Unity is lived out as we intentionally practice the “one another’s” of scripture; love (1Jn. 4:7), devotion (Rom. 12:10), honor (Rom. 12:10), live in harmony (1Pet. 3:8), accept (Rom. 15:17), instruct (Rom. 15:14), admonish (Col. 3:16), greet (Rom. 16:16), agree (1Cor. 1:10), serve (Gal. 5:13), bear (Eph. 4:2), forgive (Eph. 4:32), speak (Eph. 5:19), submit (Eph. 5:21), encourage (1Thess. 5:11; He. 3:13), spur (Heb. 10:24), offer hospitality (1Pet. 4:9), be humble (1Pet. 5:5), have fellowship (1Jn 1:7).

Unity is to be pursued by every member of the body of Christ regardless of the degree of ethnic, socio-economic, or gender diversity in the church. It is best measured by the character and practices of the individual believers toward one another, than by the number of diverse groups, the greater our commitment to character and practice, the broader the diversity of our ministry and its potential for unity.

That’s my opinion I welcome yours.

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Jay Pankratz: The Power of Humility in a Multi-ethnic Church

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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