At Emmanuel Bible Church we desire to do ministry to the glory of God by developing and committing ourselves to a philosophy of ministry (Our Core Values) that is both fundamentally strategic and thoroughly biblical.
A philosophy of ministry (Our Core Values) is a set of non-negotiable biblical principles that guides all choices and decisions in our ministry. These principles are drawn from a careful investigation of both the explicit teaching of Scripture and the implicit methodologies gleaned from seeing how ministry occurred in the early church.
Simply put, Our Core Values help us to know why we do what we do and how to actually do it. They provide the framework or skeletal structure against which all that we do can be measured.
I. A High View of God
- God is holy, righteous, just (and other perfections)
- We must seek to express His communicable attributes (we must be holy)
Note: A failure to have a high view of God leads to:
A toleration of sin
A focus on man, evidenced in teaching and programs
Result: The church reflects man-centered ministry that attempts to please peers rather than glorify God.
Questions to consider:
Do I teach with a focus on promoting God’s holiness or man’s comfort?
Does our church practice biblical discipline (Matt.18)?
Do the people have a reverence for the character of God?
Do we compromise truth for the sake of pleasing people or maintaining the status quo?
How should this effect the music we sing?
II. A Low View of Man
- Mankind is totally depraved (not good-Rom.3:10-18; wicked heart-Jer.17:9-10; continually evil-Gen.6:5)
- Man was created to glorify God, but because of sin, he seeks to glorify himself (Rom.3:23)
Note: A sinner is alienated from God, and as a result, he will seek fulfillment from the world’s evil system (I Jn.2:15-17). The implications are disturbing:
Christ will not be seen as the only solution to man’s needs
Substitutes will be provided that promise fulfillment and a better view of self
Felt needs rather than real needs will be addressed
Result: The church produces people who make choices to solve their life’s problems based on what they believe will practically meet their perceived needs.
Questions to consider:
Is the goal of your teaching to confront sin and see God change lives, or to please people and make them feel good about themselves?
Are your people more Christlike today than they were a year ago? Can they measure their spiritual progress?
Are you living out a life that reflects total dependence on God and His word as a model to your people?
Knowing this enables us to do ministry that meets real needs, not just felt needs. The goal of all true ministry is to lead man to a greater relationship with God through obedience to His word.
III. An Accurate View of God's Word
- Inspiration-verbal, plenary inspiration (2 Tim.3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). It is God-breathed.
- Inerrancy-it contains no errors. God conveyed truth to divinely chosen individuals. And what they wrote did not stray from the original formulation of truth as it existed in the mind of God (Ps.19).
- Authority-simply stated: What it says, I must do! (Ps.119; Matt.4:4). It casts judgment over every other worldly discipline and not the reverse.
- Sufficiency-this prohibits any attempt to integrate Scripture with Psychology or worldly philosophies (2 Peter 1:3-4; Ps.19; 2 Tim.3:17; Heb.4:12).
- Relevancy-it is totally relevant for every situation (Ps.19; 2 Tim.3:17; Ps.119:105; Is.40:8). We change our lives so we are relevant to God’s word. It was always give us the principles by which, through obedience, we can glorify God.
This will lead to a commitment to the teachings of Scripture (i.e. sound doctrine).
Note: A failure to recognize a High view of God’s word leads to:
Pursuit of comfort, rather than obedience
Personal experience as your authority rather than the authority of God’s word
Contemporary thinking as your guide for living rather than the principles of divine truth.
Result: the church produces people who pursue their own desires based upon an ungodly standard.
IV. A Correct Understanding of the Purpose of the Church
- To Worship (EXALT) Jesus Christ (Matt.16:18; Rom.12:1-2; I Cor.10:31; 12:13; Heb.13:15)
- To Witness (EVANGELIZE) to the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt.5:13-16; 28:19-20; Titus 2:11-15)
- To Work (EDIFY) as the body of Christ (mutual edification-Rom.12; I Cor.12-14; Heb.10:25-25; equipping center-Eph.4:12-16).
Note: A failure to correctly understand the purpose of the church leads to superficial and counterfeit ministry, resulting in disunity, and “program success” is glorified rather than God. People become passive spectators rather than active participants. Leadership is forced to spin all the plates to keep the programs functioning.
Result: The church becomes an organization, run by men and programs, rather than an organism of committed believers empowered by the Spirit of God.
Questions to ponder
How do you define “ministry success”?
Do you find yourself being caught in “the tyranny of the urgent?”
Do you find you spend most of your time “putting out fires?”
Are your people being equipped and motivated to exercise their spiritual gifts?
Does your ministry structure revolve around maintaining your programs or building character into the lives of your people?
V. Godly, Qualified Leadership
Leaders must reflect the character of Christ to be models for the flock (1 Tim.3:1-13; I Peter 5:1-8).
Leaders must adequately equip their people to do the work of the ministry (Eph.4:12; TEAM ministry; accountability).
Leaders must provide ample opportunity for them to do this work (Heb.10:24-25)
A failure to correctly understand biblical leadership leads to unbiblical discipleship and modeling and skewed priorities
A lack of biblical priorities leads to ministry in sin with a focus on skills or ability rather than godly character. This can lead to disqualifying sins.
Lack of adequate equipping for the task leads to frustration, which can produce a high turnover of lay leadership.
Lack of adequate equipping leads to the failure to reproduce oneself in ministry, which results in the few “faithful” doing all the work.
A well-articulated philosophy of ministry (Our Core Values) that is biblical is essential to “doing ministry God’s way.” This is the grid through which all our ministry decisions are passed.