Family, Church, Community, Kingdom
Ten - From The Ground Up
Working from the ground up through the family system, the church is a self-organizing entity that generates services according to need and capacity. Beyond the universal call to share our faith, the church should not add on services or activities, no matter how seemingly essential, unless its members have the capacity to fulfill them. The basic idea is that the family itself is the primary unit of God's kingdom. By members' initiative, families form small groups and these groups network with each other. When the foundation is ready to formalize a church, they do so with the commitment to support a pastor financially and spiritually. It is like this testimony about a little Baptist community:
Some of the adults at the Creek Point Apartments had been involved in church life in the past. Most of them had been out of church for years when Nancy and Jerry Sayers burst onto the scene. They wanted to start a church -- right on the apartment property -- and they wanted the residents to make up the congregation. At first a little suspicious, the residents decline to participate. When Jerry and Nancy kept showing up week after week, the residents finally thought there might be some substance to these crazy church folks. Relationships developed and it was not long before a congregation of fifteen to twenty adults was meeting weekly for Bible study and worship. The only public meeting place was the manager's office. Every Sunday, the apartment residents wandered over, sat down, and worshiped God. When the congregation had been meeting for about six months or so, it finally dawned on its members that they were a church." (Alden and Thomas, p. 17)
Our vertical consciousness is strong. We have the strengths of the Catholic system in our bones. Scholar of religion Martin Marty says that the American religious landscape today is five miles wide and two inches deep. Applying that image, our church is five miles deep and two inches wide. We need to balance this with horizontal expansion.
The model for locations that cannot support a full-time pastor
The model for a community that can support a pastor
One defining characteristic of a church, as opposed to a small group or Kodan, is the full financial support of a pastor. We should honor those who are fulfilling the job of a full-time pastor and provide incentives to stimulate people to strive for that position. Those congregations that cannot provide such support simply cannot have a pastor. They have to work on the volunteer, part-time small group system and build toward establishing a church, if that is God's will. Ultimately the number of church leaders and Regional Directors depends upon the foundation of the local groups in terms of support they are able to provide.
A church with a full-time pastor should offer as much support to the members in their ministry work as possible. As size increases, the number of activities, size of facilities, variety of educational and support services, and public outreach can increase. Minimum essentials include Sunday service, Sunday school for guests at different levels, children and members, mission activities for youth, small group ministry and a finance committee.
As for pastor support, Father provides this rule-of-thumb: "In terms of the life of tithing in the church, ten families in the church should support a church leader. Otherwise, you cannot have a right to become a citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom. Ten people should support one heavenly person." (WSL 1, p. 145)
Some of the results of our lack of support for pastors
In the late 1990s, our tithing nationally covered approximately one-third of local church expenses. The church leaders' -- including some Regional Directors -- and center members' fundraising covered the other two-thirds. This is not ideal for the long term, although it can serve as a start-up model. In the long-term, it limits the time of those called to spiritual "servant-leadership." If we want to follow the Baptist "farmer-preacher" model, with the pastor self-supporting, then we should allow the church leader to have secular employment and be available part-time. To have the church leader available full-time, the members have to support that family.
Beyond and Through the Local Church
The same principle would be employed to develop regions and the national church. In order to support a regional office, there needs to be enough local churches to provide support for the Regional Director and whatever staff is necessary. There also has to be a clear-cut job description for the office. The minimum is that the office serves as liaison to the national headquarters. The Regional Director also should provide spiritual support to the church leaders, help with planning and use of resources on the regional level, assist in ministry, help build schools and so forth. The national headquarters stands in the same relationship to the regions. Here is a chart that outlines the functions of the different organizational levels.
The reader may doubt that it is possible to shift to this system. We are not (yet, anyway) growing our church out of a vacuum. We have a national corporation and hundreds of properties, bank accounts and established leaders. The "complete restructuring" True Father often envisions, while consistent with my outline, would break a lot of eggs and create heartburn. Nonetheless, the outline can serve as a reference point. At the same time, we should realize that Kodan was set up using this method, in terms of infrastructure. And the church is drifting, like it or not, in that direction. There are states that have no state leader. That means that there is no one willing to be appointed. In those states, such as Michigan, New Hampshire, Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and perhaps others, the members created a committee and elected a pastor -- given that the definition of pastor is often very loose. These states are for the most part functioning as well or better than any other states. So this congregational process is already at work. Dr. Chang Shik Yang has floated the idea of setting up committees to govern each region in relationship with the Regional Director.
Home church (Family Federation groups)
4 or more Home churches
7-12 churches Regions defined by # of churches, not political boundaries
Pastor (and staff, if size permits)
Regional Director / staff
Nat'l ldr + staff
Weekly or bi-weekly meetings in homes Sunday service is optional.
Minimum essentials: Sunday service, Sunday school for guests at different levels, children and members, STF, small groups, finance committee.
Report, manage work, preaching,, IW teaching, counseling oversee finances. The, region can support minister education
Same as RD: report manage, IW work preaching, teaching and counseling finances,
Edification of members, evangelism and education of guests, group multiplication. Fundraising and mutual economic activity as necessary. Edification includes all counseling or mentoring. Here is the real life of the Kingdom
Same as the FF. Sunday service is for guests. Sunday school is for education. Small groups are a "mini-church," plus they can take on a special function such as worship team, child care, counseling, fundraising and finances. Pastor works with the FF group leaders
Report to nat'1 HQ, give directions from nat'1 headquarters edify pastors. Edify means internal guidance, church planning, legal, corporate and PR matters, counsel, consideration of career and future, etc.
Same as RD: report to world HQ, give directions from world headquarters, edify RDs
FF group leader meets pastor once a week. FF members may not attend a church, because of distance, though under care of the nearest pastor
Pastors work with a Board that includes representatives of all ministries in his church. Pastors meet Regional Director as necessary.
RDs work with a Board that includes rep's of all churches. RDs meet national leader as necessary
National leader works with HSA National Board. National leaders meet Internat'l leader as necessary.
The FFWPUas a Seeker Church
The FFVVPU has a very broad foundation and can be inclusive in membership. Members need not be Family Church members. In the family federation, membership means that one receives the Blessing and then develops one's character through community life and education in true family values. This model allows blessed couples to practice their own religion. The Family Federation also accepts secularism, in that we seek to bless and educate outside of religious categories, not demanding religious faith on the part of members as a condition for blessing. This seems to be Father's method, for example, blessing Socrates -- a secularist philosopher, and even ungodly people. Thus it makes sense that Father established the FFWPU as the successor to the church. We need to develop new forms of worship befitting the Kingdom that we are building.
What Is the Doctrine or Teaching of the FFWPU?
The FFWPU is:
The FFWPU has the potential to meet the historical needs of the American people as described by Donald Miller in his analysis of the new paradigm churches. He identifies four needs of contemporary Americans:
He summarizes what the churches that are providing these things are doing: "They recreate some characteristics of small town life." Now, if that is not the HOMETOWN movement, I don't know what is!
Based on these conclusions, Miller offers a critique of the declining mainstream churches. He says that the mainstream churches are mired in organizational structures that deaden vision with endless committee meetings and chains of command. There is no innovation and no multiplication.
Miller's Advice to the Mainstream Protestant Churches:
Miller notes that he is an Episcopalian, a liberal, not a member of a new paradigm church. And he notes with some pride that his Episcopal Church in southern California has gained some members over the recent years. But then he compares that with the new paradigm churches that not only gained more members but also PLANTED dozens of new churches in the same time period.
FFWPU Is Consistent with the Seeker Church Model:
Action Steps in Response to Father's Call for Restructing the Church in America
Over the past few years, Father has been calling for a restructuring of the American church. I believe that it is time for us to do that and to do it in a way that comes most natural to us. That most natural way is the way that Christianity has developed here for centuries and is developing today. I have heard that our church in Taiwan broke through by connecting the Principle to the Confucianist cultural tradition of the people. The root values of our church emerged from the admixture of progressive Protestantism and Korean tradition. It should be able to connect with the Christian cultural tradition of the people. As Rev. Michael Jenkins said, "In calling upon our roots and tradition, what we represent, let's not just call ourselves `Americans'; before that, we're Christians."
True Father synthesized Christianity and Korean tradition in his own being. We might say that in him the highest expression of Christian culture/civilization married the deepest expression of Eastern culture/civilization. And because he is a human being, his soul transcends these cultural paradigms. This is by his very nature as a child of the infinite God, not to mention the anointing he was given and the supreme effort he has made.
It is inevitable, then, that in True Father's being and thought we should discover the best of American tradition. At the same time, we see Christianity in America loosening its institutional and spiritual constraints and entering, dare I say, into a Completed Testament Age religiosity on a large scale. A rethinking of how we apply the Principle, following Father's words and proven models of success, both of ourselves and others, will lead to our church health and growth. And because it connects with our True Parents' cosmic foundation, its growth potential is unlimited.
Our True Father, The Way of the Spiritual Leader (WSL), Parts 1 and 2 (New York: FFWPUI, 1998)
Ahlen, J. Timothy and J. V. Thomas, One Church, Many Congregations: The Key Church Strategy (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1999)
Barna, George, The Second Coming of the Church: A Blueprint for Survival (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1998)
Bilezikian, Gilbert, Community 101: Reclaiming the Local Church as Community of Oneness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997)
Cimino, Richard and Don Lattin, Shopping for Faith: American Religion in the New Millennium (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998)
Galloway, Dale, with Kathi Mills, The Small Group Book: The Practical Guide for Nurturing Christians and Building Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1995)
Hadaway, C. Kirk, Church Growth Principles: Separating Fact from Fiction (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1991)
Hunter, George III, Church for the Unchurched (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996)
Hybels, Bill and Mark Mittelberg, Becoming a Contagious Christian (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994) Hybels, Lynne and Bill Hybels, Rediscovering Church: The Story and
Vision of Willow Creek Community Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995)
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Small Group Leaders' Handbook: The Next Generation
McIntosh, Gary and Glen Martin, Finding Them, Keeping Them: Effective Strategies for Evangelism and Assimilation in the Local Church (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992)
Miller, Donald, Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millennium (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press)
Robinson, Rev. Darrell, TotalChurch Life (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Press, 1997)
Southerland, Dan, Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000)
Stockstill, Larry, The Cell Church (Ventura, CA: Regal)
Warren, Rick, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995)
There are countless excellent books on the subject of church growth and ministry. I encourage you to visit the Christian bookstore closest to you. I also encourage you to read True Father's words with an eye out for guidance in relation to ministry and church growth. Father provides an unbelievable wealth of guidance in this area if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
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