Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Why “Plug and Play” Won’t Work for Your Church

Why “Plug and Play” Won’t Work for Your Church

Here are five ways using another church’s ministry model could cost you real progress. 

1. Secondary Passion

Every ministry model was originally designed to bring a deeply desired result or solve an emotionally disconcerting problem. The key dynamic here is the passion at the point of origination that “fuels” the model.

If you utilize a model that you don’t develop, the enthusiasm behind it is often less. The passion is derivative and a generation removed from the model itself. Whoever is running Andy Stanley’s or Mike Breen’s model will not likely embody their passion.

2. Underutilized Strengths.

Every ministry model has strengths and limitations. So does your congregation.

If you plug-n-play another model, you probably won’t be optimizing the unique strengths, assets, congregational heritage, leadership learnings and Spirit-led passions of your ministry.

For example, Andy Stanely’s three-step strategy or Mike Breen’s ideal size for a missional community have certain alignment features with local strengths.

3. Cultural Disconnect.

Every ministry model is contextualized for some group of people. Within the model are core assumptions about people, embedded language and values about how to best engage and organize and teach and train and practice the myriad of one-another commands of Scripture.

If you cut-n-paste a ministry model, you risk a disconnect on all kinds of levels. Some might be big and obvious. Others—and most of them—are small and nuanced.

For example, when my friend Vince Antonucci planted a church on the Las Vegas strip, he could not rely on the “attractional pull” of Andy Stanely’s worship service model or the “extended family” assumptions of Mike Breen’s model. Due to the overt sexuality on the Vegas strip and the skepticism of meeting in people’s homes, the primary environment for Verve Church is gender-based small groups that meet in public “third spaces.”

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Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.