By Steve Cordle
For years now, Joel Comiskey has been sounding the call to be principle-centered rather than model-centered. This is very healthy and freeing! One of the reasons we need to hear that is the strong attraction of “formula” ministry.
Many pastors go from conference to conference, book to book, looking for the procedure or formula that they can use in their churches to make them grow. But deep down we all know that a program will not cause revival to break out. A formula will not change the fundamental spiritual dynamics of our people and churches. Indeed, it can be idolatry to look to a formula, because then we are really saying that it is the program, not God, that “works”.
Some might say that God revealed the formula/program (whether G-12 or any other) to them and therefore it should be followed. But so often, what God the way God says to minister at one time won’t apply to the next time. Jesus healed people in many ways: using spit, mud, touch, etc. Each time he was led by the Father. But each time the procedure was different.
Lesson: as leaders we need to stay on our knees and listen for fresh instructions from the Father. He is glorified most when his people lean into him in trusting obedience.
At the beginning our church used the 5 x 5 coaching model. Eventaully we found it hard for leaders to connect naturally with their assigned coaches when they did not personally know them previously. So we switched to a modifed G-12;. When a group birthed, their cell leader became their coach. This made the coaching a lot stronger and more natural. But now our generational lines are too far removed from Network pastors, and the coaching is becoming uneven once again. Some coaches do well, others very poorly. So it is time for us to look once again at modifying our approach. What worked one time is not now. We are not going to look to the model, but rather to the Lord for his creative solution.
Is your ministry “working” today? Praise God! Keep listening for what may need to change. Is what you are doing not working? Don’t be a slave to the model, listen for the latest instructions from the Father!