Not too long ago, I put some thoughts down on paper, or my laptop, on my philosophy of ministry. Really, it’s quite simple. And that’s intentional. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I’m trying to be faithful by doing the same things that godly pastors have done through the centuries. My philosophy of ministry starts with my walk with God, extends to my family, then to the Sunday morning gathered worship service, and finally to other aspects of ministry from there. You can find it below. This is a philosophy of ministry example for pastoral ministry.
I’ve since added to this philosophy of ministry example before posting to broaden the content in hopes of giving other pastors ideas of what to potentially include if you are going to write one yourself. This is merely a broad example. I do not exhaustively discuss every aspect of Christian ministry.
Philosophy of Ministry Example
My walk with God
Before God called me to shepherd his people, he called me to himself (Romans 1:6). My philosophy of ministry starts with my union with Christ. My private walk with God is essential to a fruitful ministry, and this means: practicing the spiritual disciplines in private, pursuing holiness, and living in obedience to God. Christians rightly say that our identity is in Christ. This is not just some cute Christian cliche to place on a bumper sticker but affects all that I do. I do ministry out of that identity, not to gain one through success or numbers or so on. This means everything I do and say should be first and foremost rooted in who I am in Christ.
My relationship with my family and kids is vital for ministry health, and after God comes my family. This means I must prioritize my family, shepherd them, and ensure I lead and spend adequate time with them. Serving my family well means loving and pursuing my wife, raising my kids in the Lord, and ensuring I live out the faith at home just like I do at church. This also means I seek to be known at home and spend ample time with my wife and kids, ensuring their needs are met before anyone else’s. Further, this also includes family worship. Our kids are both under three, so we are somewhat limited on what cognitive aspects of discipleship to include, but we pray and read Christian books regularly, and talk about Christ. By God’s grace, this has born fruit.
For me, the Sunday morning gathering of God’s people is the most important aspect of the church. We gather because we are commanded to do so (Hebrews 10:25). But we gather because it is God’s ordained means to work more powerfully through his Word when his people are gathered than in any other context. The Sunday morning worship gathering, then, is imperative for Christian growth and should only be skipped for legitimate reasons (e.g., personal sickness, etc.)
Everything must be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40). The liturgy should be historically rooted. Hymns or contemporary songs are both acceptable, so long as the lyrics are biblically and theologically accurate. Occasionally singing a Psalm should be considered. Expository preaching should be the main bulk of the preaching diet, with the preacher often preaching verse-by-verse through books of the Bible. Reformed theology is much more than the five points, but is ecclesiastical in nature, and the Sunday gathering should display a Reformed — or at least a broadly Reformed — understanding and practice of every aspect of the service.
The Bible should be saturated in the service, with a call to worship and a benediction. A pastoral prayer is helpful, although other kinds of appropriate prayers may be utilized in addition to the pastoral prayer or in replace of it. Every aspect of the service should be biblically faithful, although contextualized to the culture and people the church is trying to reach.
The church should place emphasis on evangelism and outreach. By this, I just mean that, although the Sunday service is for the believer, the people of God should seek to evangelize the lost and be a blessing to its community. In this way, we are not attractional in the sense of creating programs and hoping people may come but are intentional in outreach by sharing the gospel with our lost friends, and seeking to be a blessing to the community.
Local and world missions should be an emphasis for the church. Every church should seek to be a church-planting church or be involved in church planting somehow. Local missions means planting new and nearby churches and blessing the community, and overseas missions means supporting missionaries who are called overseas. In all things, God must get the glory, and God must be the One who we seek to please.
We want to see disciples grow in Christliness. Notice Paul’s desire to “present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). We don’t just want to see the lost come to Christ, but the found to become more like Christ. Small groups play a vital role in this area. When we gather in homes for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship, we are mirroring the early church who did the same (Acts 2:42-47). I also believe in one-on-one, informal, organic discipleship in the context of coffee or food, reading books together, and intentional leadership development. Growing in Christ happens not just through structured teaching, but also through learning from godly examples.
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