Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Building From the Ground Up

This week I'm covering topics from our church's "Ministry Class" where we train our prayer ministry workers.

One of the illustrations we use is thinking of our church and its ministry as a building. The building must be built from the "ground up." In order to build we must first dig down to the foundation rock -Jesus. The only foundation that can be laid is Jesus: His work on the Cross and His message of the Kingdom. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:11 - "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Next we lay the ground level floor or upper foundation. This floor is composed of the core values of the church or movement. It is only as strong as those values find their source and connection to the foundation rock of Christ. Our central core value is understanding the Kingdom of God as Jesus taught it in the gospels, and the implications of that understanding (more of that to come). Some other core values are intimacy with God, authenticity, simplicity and right relationships.

Next comes the load bearing framework and structures of the building. These structures must be solidly rooted in the foundation and floor core values, or the building will be unstable. In this illustration the frame is composed of models, i.e. reproducible patterns of behavior and practice. Examples include the five-step prayer model taught in the class, worship that is focused on intimacy with God while being culturally current, and decentralization of ministry to all parts of the church body.

Finally, the internal structures of the building, the ones that are not load bearing and can be changed, are specific practices and ways of doing the models. Examples of these include praying with eyes open to be aware of physical signs of God's activity, placing hands in a position of receptivity and openness, etc.

It matters how one builds.
Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:10-15)
So, we teach a Kingdom understanding of reality grounded in Jesus' message and work, values that are based on and derive from that conceptual and experiential framework, models to express those values in practical ways, and practices as steps to actually do the model.