This is a modern strategy of many churches to more efficiently reach out
to the diversity of hurting people groups in the world. While this approach might prove to be more efficient, overall it is
proving to be more divisive than helpful. Many of my experiences with churches that used this approach were that a kind of
Cliquishness, Group Think and Fortress Mentality were present. The result being that while they might have helped some, they
also alienated and harmed others that did not fit their narrow, specialized and cliquish standards. In my book it says, "How
can we still hang onto our segregated and specialized fortress philosophies in light of who Christ is and what He did on the
cross? It is ironic that Jesus Christ died on the cross to break down the barriers between Jew and Gentile and the subgroups.
Then the modern church creates all kinds of programs, philosophies and strategies that divide and segregate these groups again."
(One Nation Under God, Individual).
This is also expounded on in my book 'One Nation Under God, Individual.'
A local pastor/author wrote a book quite a while back about unleashing
Christians and churches into different ministries. His explanation of this strategy was quite exciting to me until I
read a particular chapter in his book. This chapter spoke of a house ministry that I was living in at the time. When I read
this I could tell that this pastor/author must have been taking the word of the man that actually ran the ministry. When preaching
one Sunday this pastor/author gave the location of the house ministry that was completely inaccurate. When he asked the alleged
leader of this ministry to come up front and describe this ministry to the congregation, it was also clear that even this
leader did not really know or want to know what was going on in his own outreach. He spoke of a particular woman as his best
example, we will call her Mary. A friend and I that actually lived at this house looked at each other in unbelief while he
shared how this woman had changed so dramatically.
The pastor/author has truly been a great inspiration to me over
the years. However, there was a MAJOR and MISSING link to his unleashing philosophy that MUST be addressed. It is the
issue of accountability and communication and the interrelation of ministries. We are NOT Just talking about accountability
to God and to the Leaders but the accountability of these leaders as well. How can these leaders expect anything but confusion
and rebellion if they do not teach accountability and communication through example. The reason this pastor/author and the
leader/loose cannon of this particular ministry did not want to talk too much about accountability is probably that they would
then have to lead by example. The leader of this house ministry would come back from his coffeehouse/mission with
whatever woman chose to help him for that night and would minister ALONE with some of these unstable women from
the house until the wee hours of the morning. This prodigal coffehouse in the eighties was often run very loosely
and in fact was chaotic. This leader would also bring girls into the back and 'minister' to them there. This showed me that
accountability was not in his so called strategy and avoiding the appearance of evil was not too important to him either.
Most of the marriages of the folks living in the house mentioned above ended in divorce. This house rather than
being a center of a new beginning/Genesis was an end and should have been called Revelation Center.
he was allegedly accountable to was anything but Frank with his congregation until he was exposed several years later
for having an adulterous affair with a woman for eight years and was defrocked with his picture and sad story in a local Christian
Newspaper. This also in my opinion demonstrates an inherent weakness in segregated and specialized parachurch ministry.
If a leader is not able or willing to actively and consistently encourage and insist on cross communication, interrelation
and accountability from those he sends out into all these separate ministries, and is not willing to lead by example he can
expect more confusion and alienation than he can fruit.
"For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible
women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
(2 Timothy 3ff)
This Leader/loose Cannon decided to specialize and make this house, a ministry for
only women in the end. The house ended in disaster, with women beating each other up.
Some of these women felt that this leader wasn't giving them as much
attention as the others.
Then there are many Christians simply have missed the point concerning ministry.
Other Side Ministries
In the story about the Good Samaritan, the Priest and Levite pass by on the OTHER SIDE
when they see a man beaten and laying by the road. Who knows where they were headed. They could have been going to their particular
target ministry or it could have been after ministry hours.
This approach can be even worse
than the Priest and Levite approach. In the priest and Levite approach they pass by on the other side. In the Specialized
approach the Christian runs roughshod over the wounded and hurting man on the way to his officially specialized ministry at
church across town. This is missing the tree for the forest across town.
Churches that consider themselves an Open Door Fellowship or Open Door Ministry
need to have an open door to all not just particular kinds of people and not just on Sunday.
We have the ministry of reconciliation to God and others not specialization resulting
in segregation of people into different people groups. (2 Corinthians 5:18ff)
Jesus ministered in everday and ordinary places. He did not turn off his light
while on the way to his official ministry at the synagogue across town.
He went to where they were, whoever they were.
The group think present then was toward the Jew, when Christ and the twelve determined to go to the
Jew not the Gentile, but demonstrated that all, including the Jew, are in need of a saviour as well. (Matthew 10:5ff;
Galatians 2:8,9; Romans 1:16ff-3:23/24-3:29)
"...Jesus ministered in ordinary everyday places and didn't build or even
suggest the necessity to build special centers or headquarters...The setting for the development of true discipleship as we
see it worked out in the New Testament is not in large numbers. The making of a disciple is a costly personal process feasible
only in small groupings where the right kind of attention can be given" (Cells For Life, pg. 18,19 Trudinger)
Mile High Ministries or Miles Apart Ministries?
Participating in Target Group Ministries creates a tunnel vision that cannot seee the needs of those we cross paths with in our daily lives. I have seen this over and over
in these kind of ministries. One guy I know is always on his way to a particular ministry across town or is recovering or
preparing for it. He literally misses multitudes of opportunities right in front of him. This astounds me how many miss the
people that God puts in their path in the name of being official across town. This modern approach is not Love at all. I don't
think this is what God had in mind because this is not how he did it.
For a short time I was a member of a church that placed a great emphasis
on politics and SOCIAL interaction. The ones that were the most successful in this church were the ones that were most successful
in the world and could be the best at politicking and being the life of the party. I got a wide variety of responses whenever
I discussed spiritual issues with anyone. I found that there were plenty of people that believed the Bible to be a good book
but not divinely inspired or completely accurate. Others thought that we needed to be open and affirming of Homosexuals even
ordaining them. When Jesus went to the Wedding in Cana of Galilee he was the life of the party. He turned water into wine.
The difference here was that He was the Spiritual life of the party and he did not turn the water to wine to impress or create
a topic for small talk unless it led to conversion. Jesus did not withhold his words of life, to be liked by everyone. Too
many people confuse Love with following the line of least resistance or social interaction with fellowship. There is a big
Jesus was finally forsaken by all and crucified. A murderer was chosen to be liberated over him. Thank
God for the resurrection. We think that getting along with people is a virtue. God wants real Christians to be in unity, but
he wants them to be one in him, the truth (John 14:6) and not error, compromise or lies. Love rejoices in the truth.(1 Corinthians
13) I have been a part of groups where the ultimate goal seemed to be getting along while following the line of least resistance,
at the expense of the truth. Important subjects such as Christ and who he was and is were too controversial to discuss. Jesus
never said give up the truth for so-called unity's sake. Real Unity is in the real Jesus, and any Jesus or gospel will NOT
do. (2 Corinthians 11;Galatians 1)
The emphasis in small groups in peoples homes should
be personal and up close. Too often Pastors of churches are so focused on numbers that they miss the importance of quality
of relationships. The bigger the congregation the bigger the offering. However, in the long run this might not even be true.
The following quote aptly demonstrates my point.
Quote: "Let's say for example that a gifted evangelist is able to lead
1,000 people to Christ every day. Each year he will have reached 365,000 people, a phenomenal ministry indeed.
compare him with a disciple who leads not 1,000 people a day to Christ, but only one person a year. At the end of one year,
the disciple has one convert; the evangelist, 365,000. But suppose the disciple has not only led another person to Christ,
but has also discipled him. He has prayed with him, taught him how to feed himself from the Word of God, gotten him into fellowship
with like minded believers, and shown him how to present the Gospel to other people. At the end of that first year, this new
convert is able to lead another man to Christ and follow him up as he himself has been followed up.
At the start of the second year, the disciple has doubled his ministry-the
one has become two. During the second year, each man goes out and leads not 1,000 people per day to Christ, but one person
per year. At the end of the second year, we have four people. You can see how slow our process is. But note too that we do
not have only converts, but disciples who are able to reproduce themselves. At this rate of doubling every year, the disciple,
leading one man per year to Christ, will overtake the evangelist numerically early in the 24th year. From then on the disciple
and his multiplying ministry will be propagating faster than the combined ministry of dozens of gifted evangelists.
like the dad who offered his two sons the choice of either taking one dollar a week for 52 weeks or one cent the first week,
and the amount doubled every week for 52 weeks. One son took the dollar. The other son said, 'Well, Dad, I will try the penny
to see what will happen.' We all know who wins: the son who takes the one penny and has it doubled each week. The degree to
which he wins is absolutely astounding. By the end of the year, the son who began with the penny will have enough money to
live comfortably the rest of his life."
(DISCIPLES ARE MADE NOT BORN, Henrichsen, pg. 136,137)
in ordinary everyday places and didn't build or even suggest the necessity to build special centers or headquarters...The
setting for the development of true discipleship as we see it worked out in the New Testament is not in large numbers. The
making of a disciple is a costly personal process feasible only in small groupings where the right kind of attention can be
given" (Cells For Life, pg. 18,19 Trudinger)