Posted by: duncandrews | April 3, 2010

People and structures in church

I’ve had this ruminating for a while, inspired by some thoughts by Andrew on the relationship between people and structures in our churches. Here’s the basic idea:

“… we shape the ministries of the church to serve people’s growth, rather than ask people to serve the ministries of the church.”

It seems to me that very often churches make people serve structures. We have a predetermined idea of the structures/ministries of the church, and we look for people to fill them. We’ve got a roster to fill, a women’s event to run, a working bee to round up support for – and we look for people to fill the gaps.

But what if instead we shaped our structures to serve people? Real people, individuals with their own gifts, needs, passions, sins. It’d be much less predictable and controllable – but the focus would be on the people, not the roster. It would mean that different churches would look different, because there are different people in them (!) rather than having a single model of what a ‘successful’ church looks like – we’d be very different and happily so.

Anyway, all of this has been brought up again for me by the latest episode of the fantastic Pilgrim’s Podcast. Steve Chong, from Kirkplace Presbyterian, is the latest guest and has some really great stuff to say on all this – and particularly on how it relates to gifting. I think it’s gold, and get the sense that if we seriously put it into practice our churches would, under God, become places of genuine, joyful, outward-focused service that empower individuals to use their particular gifts for the gospel.

But I won’t say more – you should listen for yourself!



  1. Huzzah! It’s good to be reminded of this bro.

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