Friday, 24 February 2012

Planning of Church’s Ministries: Worship, Evangelism, Education, healing, counseling and social works

Shaiju Thomas
February 29, 2012
1)     Introduction

2)    Worship


4)     The Christian Education

i)       Why Do We Need a Ministry of Teaching in the Church?

ii)    Why Does Christian Education need to be as effective as Possible?

iii)  Why Does Christian Education Require Careful Planning?

5)      The Christian Concept of the Healing Ministry

i)        All healing is of God.

6)     Social Work and Christian Counseling
i)       Clinical Social Work
ii)    Licensed Professional Counseling
iii)  Christian Counseling"

7)     Conclusion

8)    Bibliography
9) endnotes

My assignment is to clarify a “personal understanding and practice” with respect to the ministry in the church. It was requested that the paper be written in a Bible study format. “Was sagt das Wort?” (What does the Word say?) is still the right question where Christian belief and practice are the topics at hand. I will clarify a personal understanding and practice with respect to the ministry in the church. Church buildings have a special significance that distinguishes them from public hall or commercial meeting places. They are set apart, specially dedicated to God for specific purpose of worship, evangelism, education, and healing, counseling and social works. Priority in the use of church buildings should be given to those spiritual ministries of the church itself and to the community it serves through its witness and program.  Individuals and groups who traditionally use church buildings include church staff members, the congregation, church organizations, wedding parties, funerals, and denominational agencies.  Some churches restrict the use of their facilities to their own membership. Others openly invite the use of their facilities by other groups in the community. The church should evaluate community needs in the light of it own basic objectives before establishing regulations concerning the use of its facilities by outside groups. Specific plans should be followed in providing facilities and using them properly. 
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worth scipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.[1] Worship planning, whether it's led by a pastor, a musician, a planning team, or a worship committee, begins with this goal in mind: a well-thought-out liturgy that involves the assembly in authentic praise of God. In most congregations, regardless of the church's size or style of worship, elements of the service music, prayer, and sermon, movement to the table and out into the world are placed in an established order that will guide the congregation in the worship hour. After the service, any reflection is usually an evaluation of particular elements of worship this went well; this did not. The pattern is repeated weekly and seasonally. Often the planners (clergy, musicians, lay members of various functional committees—altar guild, ushers, technicians) anticipate the whole of the service through their own roles in worship. Each sees worship through a particular lens. Musicians are concerned mainly with the anthem or the hymns and songs; ushers focus on the efficiency of seating guests or the smoothness of collecting offerings. The planning revolves around predictable choices and sequences, putting elements of the worship service into established places, into their proper "slots."[2]
This common method of planning and reflecting is basically linear. It is a logical method of preparing the service because the worship service itself is a sequential pattern. With contextual and denominational variations, the established pattern gathering, hearing, responding, and departing sustains the congregation in the rhythms of praise and prayer. The shape of the service is dependable and familiar.
While this common pattern of planning is functional, a more expansive and spacious liturgical celebration calls for preparatory conversation that is fluid. For the worship to be multidimensional and multisensory, the planning itself has to expand to include language that is poetic and playful as well as declarative or practical. Brainstorming and imagining offer an open way of thinking and discussing that is more circular than linear. While creative and exciting, an exclusively circular planning conversation can spin on and on, with great ideas but no focus, no defining order. Conversely, a solely linear process can become a series of lists, with limited opportunity for change or expansion. Linear and circular thinking are distinct, but both are useful and must be held in tension as necessary components of planning.
The challenge is to plan multisensory worship services that are structured and focused. The worship service requires order and flow that incorporate the assembly's expressions of joy and awe and thanks and lament. As my colleagues and I developed a conversational model of worship planning to include both approaches, we learned that separating the two movements of "planning" and "ordering" was the key to working with this tension. In our conception, the planning is more free-form; it involves discovery of multiple possibilities and expressions based on the biblical texts. Ordering is more linear, more sequential; this step puts the pieces in place.[3]

Evangelism was the heart of the earthly ministry of Jesus. Jesus stated His purpose for coming to earth in Luke 19:10 “for the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.” He then commissioned His church to take the gospel to the nations in Mark 16:15 “Go into the entire world and preach the good news to all creation.” Jesus predicted that when this task was completed the end would come. The priority of the church is evangelism. If the church does not plan to do evangelism, it will not be done. God has a strategy for the salvation of the world. Jesus reveals a strategy. Look up Matthew 9.35-10.20, where he sends the disciples out with a particular task and instructions on how to complete it. Matthew 28.19,20 and the whole of Paul’s missionary journeys throughout the book of Acts where the apostle seems to focus on strategic, commercial, cultural and military centers in his missionary travel. To bring churches out of mediocrity, we need good planning. Every church in this diocese has improved their stewardship planning through the manual and methods taught by Canon Charles La Fond. By careful planning in months ahead we have better campaigns and better budgets. The benefits of planning are clear when we see how well our churches are faring financially during the worst economy of our lifetimes.[4]
Our churches now plan our stewardship campaigns with joy and prayer. We have choirs that rehearse and work hard and offer beauty to our worship of God. If we look beyond any specific ministry, we can do strategic planning that can build better churches overall. This work can improve all our ministries as once and make us more likely to attract and retain new members.
This strategic planning work has completely transformed our mission church in East Concord. We have started new outreach programs to address previously unmet needs in our neighborhood. We are hosting fun events for our community, like our Pig Roast and Christmas Tree Lighting. We are offering more frequent Christian Education and worship services. What’s more: our Bishop’s Committee meetings are no longer humdrum but full of energy as we continue to pursue these goals for the next three years!
Strategic Planning is the ultimate evangelism tool. The planning is hard work and time intensive but it will raise the quality of all your ministries at once. If a church’s leadership is fully engaged, if its outreach makes a local difference and if you are regularly inviting the neighborhood in, then new people will not only visit but stay. Not only will they stay, they will commit to your great ministries and you will retain new active members. Canon La Fond helped Grace-East Concord build a better church. Call him and get your congregation on fire too!
The Christian Education
Take some time to consider the "Whys" of Christian education.  Here are questions and answers designed to stimulate thinking about why the teaching ministry is essential to the life of the church.  Use these questions to sharpen your own thoughts about the purpose of education in your congregation and how your church plans for and implements its teaching ministry.  It will be much easier to plan the teaching ministry of your congregation if you know where you want to go in education and why.[5]
Why Do We Need a Ministry of Teaching in the Church?
"The church must teach or die" is an old adage that reminds us that the Christian faith may always be only one generation away from extinction.  In its ministry of education, the congregation is able to fulfill its ancient commission to teach persons in this generation the understandings, traditions, faith, and life-styles of the Christian community (Matthew 28:19-20) at the same time, the demands of the gospel are very personal.  The message of the Christian gospel is for each person living here and now.  Christian education is essential to the nurturing of persons in the knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a Christian in today's world.  Church education has the unique responsibility of enabling Christians to know the faith they profess and to respond to that faith by living in a deliberate manner as God's people, as those who make decisions and act in the light of their believe.
Why Does Christian Education need to be as effective as Possible?
A major task of teaching in the church is to equip persons to engage in the church's mission in the world. This mission is to persons.  It consists primarily of witnessing to persons and communicating the faith in such a way as to enable persons both in the church and outside it to hear and respond to God's word and deed in their common life in the world.  Thus it is the responsibility of the church (a) to give as effective a witness as possible both to what God has done and to what God is doing in the world, and (b) to act as God's agents in the working for love, justice, and reconciliation among all people.  This can only be done when the church takes seriously its educational ministry and the need of the world for a faithful witness to the gospel.

 Why Does Christian Education Require Careful Planning?
The teaching ministry of the congregation is too important to leave to chance.  Although much education occurs in informal ways, an intentional program for teaching and learning should be undertaken and tailored to serve the needs of the persons in the congregation. The teaching ministry of the congregation is best seen as inclusive of all the learning opportunities offered adults, youth, and children. The settings for education might include some or all of the following:  church school, vacation school, fellowship groups, leisure-time activities, mission and service groups, intergenerational groups, church meetings.  Such a wide variety of activities requires a careful selection of Partners in Education United Church of Christ resources appropriate to the various groups. A plan of education for the congregation needs to include clear goals and expected outcomes.  The teaching ministry of the church should lead to new understandings about Christian faith and life.  It should be a process by which persons test their thoughts, language, and actions with reference to the Christian message in the context of social and natural world.
A planned program of education for the congregation is strengthened when those responsible for the teaching ministry make provision to equip and support the teachers and leaders, including a variety of preserves and in-service training events. Careful planning, then, means that a congregation needs to consider all the ingredients that go into a total ministry -- the needs of persons of all ages, those who teach and those who learn some clear understandings about why and how people learn and grow in faith, and what resources are needed to accomplish the church's purposes.  Such planning requires more than simply building these concerns into a program.  It also means continuous assessment of the value and quality of what the church is doing and a willingness to change in order that the teaching ministry may become more effective in the lives of people.[6]
The Christian Concept of the Healing Ministry
The Christian Church has a specific task in the field of healing this is to say more than simply that the Church has a duty to support all that contributes to the welfare of man. It is to say that there are insights concerning the nature of health which are available only within the context of the Christian faith. The Church cannot surrender its responsibility in the field of healing to other agencies. This, however, leaves entirely  open the question whether in a given situation, the Church best discharges its duty in  the field of healing through  the maintenance of hospitals, clinics and similar institutions with their medical teams, or  through the work of Christians in secular institutions, or through a combination of both.  The specific character of the Christian understanding of health and of healing arises from its place in the whole Christian belief about God’s plan of salvation for mankind. The Christian understanding of healing begins from its place in the ministry of Jesus. There it was a sign of the breaking into human life of the powers of the Kingdom of God, and of the dethroning of the powers of evil. The health which was its fruit was not something static, a restored equilibrium; it was an involvement with Jesus in the victorious encounter of the Kingdom of God with the powers of evil. A concept of health which is merely that of a restored balance, a static "wholeness", has no answer to the problem of human guilt or death, nor to the anxiety and the threat of meaninglessness which are the projection upon human life of the shadow of death. Health, in the Christian understanding, is a continuous and victorious encounter with the powers that deny the existence and goodness of God. It is a participation in an invasion of the realm of evil, in which final victory lies beyond death, but the power of that victory is known now in the gift of the life-giving Spirit. It is a kind of life which has overcome death and the anxiety which is the shadow of death. Whether in the desperate squalor of over-populated and underdeveloped areas, or in the spiritual wasteland of affluent societies, it is a sign of God's victory and a summons to his service. The Church's ministry of healing is thus an integral part of its witness to the Gospel. In the exercise of this healing function the Church must never be indifferent to the patient's spiritual condition, his religious faith or unbelief.
All healing is of God.
This is so whether or not it seems to occur through what we call natural laws – some of which we know, whether or not it appears to have been brought about by what we call medical means, or whether or not it has been accomplished by means of spiritual healing. This should be accepted even to the extent that all the achievements of modern medicine ultimately are to be understood as signs of the healing power of God. For this very reason we accept modern medicine as a gift from God and use with the same gratitude both the spiritual and the scientific means of healing.
Social Work and Christian Counseling
Although clinical and counseling psychologists provide psychotherapy to individuals, families and groups, counseling is also done in a number of settings by persons whose post-graduate training is not psychology. Four of the most typical educational routes to these positions are described below:[7]
Clinical Social Work
In general, a social worker is a professional whose job it is to provide social services through a public or private agency to individuals, groups or communities. The services provided by social workers vary greatly, including counseling, vocational guidance, financial aid, medical services, and recreational leadership. A subspecialty of social work, clinical social work, is particularly designed to prepare practitioners for careers in which they will work directly with persons (and the families and systems of which they are a part) who are dealing with emotional distress.[8]
Licensed Professional Counseling
A relatively new professional option is the LPC, which recognizes non-psychological training in counseling, guidance, and related areas. LPC status typically requires masters' level education, often obtained through a department or school of education. The LPC certification is parallel to that provided the MSW, and LPC's in this region are employed in a number of private and public settings, including drug and alcohol treatment programs, public mental health facilities, and inpatient psychiatry services. Some LPC's are also entering private practice, although they are not entitled to third party reimbursement for their services.

Christian Counseling"
Although neither the State of Texas nor the APA recognizes the designation "Christian Psychology" or "Christian Counseling" many psychology majors express an interest in this area as a career choice. Let us assume that you are planning on becoming a minister, a representative of God functioning within a body of believers hoping to enrich the lives to your parishioners and to assure that each has the opportunity to learn and to accept the good news of eternal life.[9]
Psychology would be a major for you. However, if you do choose psychology as a major, you should be aware that you have to take several courses that you will feel give you nothing of what you hope or expect. In psychology you would learn (perhaps more appropriately than in any other major) some of what you will need to know about human personality development (Psy. 4327), broader approaches to development (Psy. 3350), abnormal psychology (Psy. 3330), concepts of human relating (Psy. 3310) and problem solving in a counseling context (Psy. 3308). Completing the full major will place you in a good position to be accepted into a graduate school or seminary, although you should be careful to research the religion courses needed for seminary admission. You might even consider a double major in religion and psychology with other courses taken from sociology and gerontology (marriage and family, Soc. 3354, criminology, Soc. 4352, Soc. 4395, aging and mental health, and Soc. 3311, race and ethnic relations).
Let us suppose that you are committed to helping others within a Christian format and you think of your ministry as sitting down with persons who have brought their confusions of whatever dimension to you. You think of yourself as a person who will earn your living this way - you are interested in counseling at the professional level. You are also interested in and feel a commitment to extol values and principles based on the teachings of Christ which you are convinced would enhance the lives of those you counsel.
If you are planning to become a counselor working either in church settings on in any of the myriad of clinics now in operation under religious labels, you would benefit greatly from taking a major in psychology. Such a major would be an appropriate entrTe into graduate work in a number of schools which offer specific work in counseling wherein spiritual tools of prayer, scriptural admonition, and an evangelical emphasis are major considerations. These courses are available in the evangelical Bible colleges as well as the seminaries.

Let us suppose that you are a Christian who sees counseling with others as a part of your Christian commitment, although you do not plan to earn your living this way. You will volunteer your services to telephone ministries, to youth camp sponsorship, or as a witness-counselor in order to fulfill both yourself and your identity as a Christian layperson.
If you are planning on being involved either in part-time counseling work in a religious setting or if you aspire to volunteer positions in evangelical work, the major in psychology would still be as serviceable as would be other majors with the exception of religion. If you do not choose to major in psychology, you should consider taking Psychology, introduction to counseling. You should certainly consider abnormal psychology, human development, and personality theory as well as social psychology.
Finally, we recommend that the student seek as much formal training in counseling skills and theories as possible. Ideally, students should try to satisfy the licensing requirements for either the MSW, the CPE, or the LPC as outlined above, or pursue masters or doctoral level work in psychology. You might also consider programs, such as Fuller Theological Seminary and Biola University, where APA approved doctoral degrees are combined with explicit theological training.[10]


Above all, remember that the Lord is with us in our efforts to win souls for His kingdom. We can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that our training, or reading, gives us all the necessary skills to perform the task. While training and educational reading is vital in the process of equipping people for professional or lay ministry, the blessing and power of God makes all the difference. That is the difference between just preaching and preaching with power. That is the difference between reaching out to the community through our concern and reaching out with God’s love.

Kay, William K., Religion in education, Grace wing Publishing, 1997, 372 pages, ISBN 0852444257

Wimberley, Anne Streaty. Nurturing Faith and Hope: Black Worship as a Model for Christian   Education. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2004.

Smith, R. Scott, Truth and the New Kind of Christian, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005.

Sweet, Leonard, ed., The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.

Wimberley, Anne Streaty. Soul Stories: African American Christian Education. Nashville:   Abingdon Press, 1994.

Webber, Robert. ed., Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

Blair, John and Richard Sharpe. Pastoral Care before the Parish. Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1992.

Anderson, Herbert, and Don Browning, Eds. The Family and Pastoral Care. Philadelphia:   Fortress Press, 1984.
Wicks, Robert J. and Thomas E. Rodgerson. Companions in Hope: The Art of Christian Caring.   New York: Paulist Press, 1998

Wimberley, Edward P. Moving from Shame to Self-Worth; Preaching and Pastoral Care. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999.

 end notes
[1]  Kay, William K., Religion in education, Grace wing Publishing, 1997, 372 pages, ISBN 0852444257
[2] Wimberly, Anne Streaty. Nurturing Faith and Hope: Black Worship as a Model for Christian   Education. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2004.
[3] Smith, R. Scott,  Truth and the New Kind of Christian, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005.
[4] Sweet, Leonard, ed., The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.
[5] Wimberly, Anne Streaty. Soul Stories: African American Christian Education.Nashville:   Abingdon Press, 1994.
[6] Webber, Robert. ed., Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.
[7] Blair, John and Richard Sharpe. Pastoral Care Before the Parish. Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1992.
[8] Anderson, Herbert, and Don Browning, eds. The Family and Pastoral Care.Philadelphia:   Fortress Press, 1984.

[9] Wicks, Robert J. and Thomas E. Rodgerson. Companions in Hope: The Art of Christian Caring.   New York: Paulist Press, 1998
[10] Wimberly, Edward P. Moving from Shame to Self-Worth; Preaching and Pastoral Care. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999.

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