The Obvious Truth Nobody Seems to Know

Dan Dick on the secret to successful ministry.

United Methodeviations

Okay, here it is — the answer to all our problems in The United Methodist Church.  It is so simple, you probably won’t believe/accept it.  It comes in two parts — the first part is fundamental conventional wisdom, the second part, no so much.  It answers the question: “what is the key to successful, effective ministry in The United Methodist Church?”  Part one of the answer is “pastoral leadership,” but the second part is not “who is a stellar preacher, theologian, celebrity, visionary, organizer, fund-raiser, entrepreneur, or administrator.  No, the second part of the statement is “that spends at least 50% of their time developing lay people.”  Scanning my own research and the research results of three other studies, the strongest correlation between congregational vitality and pastoral leadership is in empowering and equipping lay people to live their discipleship out in the world in their daily lives.  Who would have…

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One thought on “The Obvious Truth Nobody Seems to Know

  1. Dan is echoing something that a former pastor of mine (Will Cotton) told me almost two years ago – that his role as Senior Pastor was the development of laity to serve:

    The 21st century (for at least the rest of our lifetimes) in ministry will not be primarily about the local church. Churches and denominations will be wise to train people for ministry in secular situations. The gospel is returning to the streets, the marketplace, the classrooms, the chat rooms, the homes and even the bars. My job description has shifted in response to the leading of the Spirit. I am not just a performer of ministry; I am a leverage person, equipping people for ministry in places I will never be able to go. I used to lead Bible Studies with up to 80 people in them and they were enjoyed. But two years ago, I moved to more intensive studies that prepare leaders who then start classes, small groups, and even lead “in the marketplace” studies and support groups. My favorite book on this shift is Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal. My two CLMs came out of those classes. If I train 15-20 people (which I do at near seminary level with some texts actually from Course of Study for local pastors) and they lead groups of even 10 people, then the yield is three times what I was doing in the large studies before. The Church you and I are a part of will be so different in just 20 years from now, and the truth is, no one knows what it will look like (nearly every Bishop worth his or her consecration will tell you that). But the shift from church-centered ministry to community-centered ministry is part of it. (from “”Thinking Outside The Box” –

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