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9 Ideas That Have Shaped My Philosophy of Ministry

I’ve been thinking about the key ideas and concepts that have shaped my philosophy of ministry. I’m not talking theology. That said, in no particular order, here are what I think are the ten biggest rocks:

1. Crowd to Core: Rick Warren’s relatively simple metaphor expresses a profound ministry concept. Instead of pouring everything into the most committed members with the expectation that they will then go out (core to crowd), crowd to core focuses on building next steps that will help the crowd move toward Christ. See also Next Steps for Everyone…and First Steps for Their Friends.

2. There is no problem free. Wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have. See also The Pursuit of Problem Free.

3. “Path, not intent, determines destination.” This Andy Stanley line says it all about the importance of creating steps that are easy, obvious and strategic.  See also Arriving at the Preferred Future.

4. “Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing.” Another Andy Stanley line that succinctly illustrates a stunning reality. Design determines results. We can’t blame it on a fluke. There is an indisputable relationship between the design and the outcome. See also An Openness to New Ideas.

5. “What business are you in?” “Who is your customer?” “What will you call success?” What I often refer to as the Drucker questions play a very big part in my ministry. If you don’t have answers for them, if you’ve not invested time in them, it is unlikely that you are moving in the right direction. See also The First Question Every Small Group Pastor Must Answer and The Second Question Every Small Group Pastor Must Answer.

6. “The optimal environment for life-change is a small group.” Life-change happens most frequently as a result of life-on-life interaction. A small group system provides a strategy that scales for the size of the congregation, crowd and community. See also Essential Ingredients for Life-Change.

7. “Everyone needs to be cared for by someone but no one can take of more than (about) ten.” Carl George’s interpretation of Exodus 18 plays a big part in my understanding of the need for and the potential of a coaching structure. See also The One Thing Every Small Group Pastor Must Do for Small Group Leaders.

8. “Leaders allocate the finite resources of the organization to the critical growth path.” Again, no one says it like Carl George. This one liner defines the leader’s role in choosing where to invest time, talent, and treasure. See also Budgeting for the Preferred Future.

9. Unconnected people are one tough thing away from not being at your church. See also What’s Your Urgency Level for Connecting People?

What do you think?