"No specialized training is needed in evangelism. As long as you can bring people in and let them learn through a long-established discipleship system via watching a series of videos, you can thus materialize the idea of 'no threshold for missionary work'”, said a pastor in East China.
For a long time, churches in China have focused on evangelism and discipleship, but the management system has rarely received any reforms, and the innovation of church planting is almost unknown. At present, quite a few churches are still using the traditional top-down “pyramid” management system, which is a vertical management system with different layers. Under the trend of “horizontal” management, some churches have begun to consider innovating their management system, inheriting the advantages of “pyramid” management while avoiding its disadvantages.
In the past few years, Pastor L, who is from East China, has made fruitful attempts and innovations in these aspects.
In an interview with the Christian Times, an online Christian newspaper in China, Pastor L (pseudonym for safety reasons) said that at first, he did not come up with innovating his church management system. “In the process of my church’s development, I found that our system had problems in that it could not extend itself. Our previous system could only allow us to manage the local area, and we also had some groups in other places. In the process of managing the church, I found that due to geographical distance, we could not effectively manage them, which showed that there was something wrong with our management system.”
Pastor L said, for example, that there were some group leaders who did not know how to lead them. They did not know what to do when faced with new members, nor did they know about multiplying groups. “We have been doing it for so many years, and we know how to do it ourselves, but those new group leaders have no idea at all. At that time, we discovered that there was something wrong with the inheritance. The key point of the problem was administration. Could our entire administrative system be duplicated? Administration can be organized at the upper level, but so can it be well practiced in the cell groups? The whole administration here has become a system, including how to train new members when they come over. All is well at the upper level of administration, but they are not so when it comes to group leaders at the lower level.”
After discovering the problems, Pastor L began to think about how to solve them.
Traditional pastoral ministry is based on experience. Pastor L started to lead the church at the beginning of 2000 during which he constantly accumulated the experience and lessons learned. Pastor L said that he didn't know the reason why, but he felt that the group leader should have mastered these things long ago and that there should have been no problem. However, the reality completely exceeded his expectations. He found that the things that he had already mastered for a long time could not be done by the team leader. He realized that there was something wrong with their ability to adopt new practices, and a lot of things could not be passed down from him to the group leaders in different places.
“For me, because many churches have small groups and co-workers, it comes from the experience gained in the long pastoral ministry, not from learning. Then how can I turn my years of experience into something that they can completely copy in a short time? So I sorted out a course, and worked out our discipleship process, administrative process, and multiplication process of the group. All of which were worked out in great detail. It was a lot of sorting out and summarizing, and it was written down in words. It was all sorted out so that others can learn and absorb it better.”
In a city that doesn’t have a church or a city that already has small gathering spots, in terms of how to go from zero to one, and how to go from one to two, this system has sorted it all out. With the system in place, it is relatively easy to implement leaders. If this system is sorted out, it will have a standard to use.
Pastor L said with emotion that in the past, he, as well as other co-workers, always had to do much repetitive work, so precious time was wasted in vain. Although he was very diligent, the service efficiency was actually very low. “We conquered this matter, and then formed it into words and courses, which can be used directly. What we are going to do now is to record many things into videos, so that we do not have to talk about them repetitively. We can do it once and always benefit from it. Then in the process of practice, we also need to pay attention to constantly appearing new problems, and then constantly improve this system.”
The church where the pastor serves has launched its own mission goal - there is no threshold for the mission. In traditional cognition, there is not only a threshold, but the threshold is surprisingly high.
To this, Pastor L explained that in their church system, everyone could do missionary work. In the past, it was necessary to train missionaries professionally. It took at least one to two years of training to send a missionary. When they are sent to a place, all they have to do is face new people, cultivate new people, party process, discipleship, visit, and so on. And all this needs to be studied and trained before they are qualified. But in the current innovative church planting mode, for example, there is a believer in the church. He originally worked here, but he was very burdened with his family, and then he preached the gospel to his family. After someone came to faith, he could immediately become a small gathering there. Missionaries do not need professional training, as long as they gather together, as long as they can bring people here. After the man comes over, what will the discipleship be? It is enough to learn through the long-established discipleship system, that is, discipleship videos, and there is no need to specially train missionaries. In this way, the goal of having “no threshold for missionary work” has been successfully achieved.
- Translated by Charlie Li