We believe that every local church has a unique calling in how it can fulfill God’s mission on earth. Every church must define who they are, and what they are called to do as a part of the greater Body of Christ.
We call this our Philosophy of Ministry. This flows from our Purpose Statement and seeks to be more specific in how this purpose gets expressed in what we do, and do not do, at KCC.
In order to talk about these ideas, it becomes necessary at times to compare and contrast our philosophy of ministry with other philosophies. We want to be very clear: we do not believe that KCC is the ultimate church, or that other churches that do things differently from us are in any way beneath us. On the contrary, we are excited that other churches are good at the things we are not. It is not a competition!
It is also important to note that while our purpose remains constant, our philosophy of ministry can change as the needs of KCC and the Triad area change.
There are 6 statements that best outline our philosophy of ministry. They are:
We believe that just as God the Son took on flesh and bone, to enter into humanity to save it from itself; we are called to go into the culture as representatives of Jesus to save it. Before Jesus left the earth at the end of His ministry, he said that the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within us. Soon after, He did just that. In this way, we become “little Christ’s” to the world.
This is the essence of incarnational ministry. It’s the “go and tell” method of spreading the gospel.
Attractional ministry is, essentially, a “come and see” method of spreading the gospel. We are not against this style of ministry. In fact, we do a lot of things that fit into the attractional model. We put a lot of effort, time, and money into our Sunday morning meetings. We highly value excellence. We do children’s Sunday school. We have a building and a guest hospitality team. All these things are important!
However, we believe that our most effective way of extending the gospel to those that are far from Christ is through people loving other people with the love of God, expressed within the context of relationships. If all we do is draw people to a building, a worship style, or a program then we have not succeeded because the goal is to draw them to Jesus. The goal is to grow people so that they can go.
This means that while we think excellence is very important, Christian authenticity and relationships are of far greater importance. Many unchurched people are highly suspicious of slick presentations, and flawless performances. We want to reach the unchurched, and the best way to do that is to be genuine, sincere, and to “go and tell” even when they will not “come and see”.
This means that you will not see a lot of large, church-wide, outreach initiatives. We far prefer to push that important facet of church life out to the small groups and individuals to keep it relational, localized, and missional.
This is closely related to incarnational ministry. We believe that the saying is true, “What you attract them with, you have to keep them with.” Our goal is not to grow the church by selling our programs, worship style, and cultural acuity. If the ultimate goal is to grow people to be like Jesus, then Jesus must be the main attraction.
We are not against marketing. We have a website. We have a sign out front. We will do mailers and ads. But, even with those marketing tools, we are careful to give a clear and honest message about who and what we are. Ultimately, our “brand” is Jesus and He is what we put out front.
We want people to commit to our church not because of the religious goods and services that we dispense, but rather because they are challenged and encouraged to follow Christ here and they have found genuine community.
This means that we are suspicious of any initiative or expense at KCC that exists to convince people to attend our church, but does not serve to point to the love of Jesus in some way. For example, if you are a guest at one of our weekend meetings you will receive sincere, and caring hospitality. But, you will not receive a giant gift basket, sales pitch, or door prizes. Christian hospitality points to Jesus. A sales pitch points to us.
We believe that if the Holy Spirit doesn’t empower and bless what we are doing then it’s empty. The temptation is to stop relying on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and instead turn to methods and ingenuity to fulfill our purpose.
Pragmatism says that something is true, and good, if it works. The end justifies the means. The problem is that God does not think this way. The process is as important as the result. It is not enough to choose the desired outcome, and then reverse engineer a set of steps to get that outcome. We need to be led by the Holy Spirit so that our plans, structures, and systems are empowered by Him.
We are not against systems and structures. In fact, we think they are vital. We just want them to be systems and structures that reflect the mind of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We do not believe in self-improvement, self-actualization, or self-esteem. Rather we believe in transformation of self, worship, and God-esteem. None of these things are possible without the intervention and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Without Him all we have are empty hopes, short-lived self-help, and a life that revolves around ourselves instead of our Creator.
If our purpose is to “grow people so that they can go”, then it follows that we must place a premium priority on spiritual depth and character development. There will always be pressure to lower that priority in order to grow in number more quickly. Let’s be clear: we are not one bit against numerical growth. Numbers matter because people matter. However, we have not succeeded if we grow in number, but do not grow in faith.
A wide pool is no good if it is an inch deep. It looks good from a certain distance, but in the end does not serve the purpose for which it was made. Above all else, we want to stir people to grow up and grow out. We want people to discover what God has called them to do, and go do it as worship unto God.
The people of God have long had a tendency, dating back to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, to require people to believe before they can belong instead of belonging before they believe. Jesus changed all that by befriending sinners. We want to follow that same model by allowing people to be a part of our community, even when they do not believe what we believe and do not live like we live.
This does not mean that we compromise on Biblical truth. Far from it. However, it does mean that we must learn to love people as Jesus did. The truth must always be communicated within a context of love and mercy. KCC is a place where cynics and believers alike can come and discover the richness of God’s love, mercy, and truth.
This means that you will encounter people at KCC that are not Christians, do not live like Christians, do not look like Christians, and do not talk like Christians. We do not want to simply modify their behavior, dress, and speech. We want people to meet Jesus, and in so doing become so transformed by His gospel that their outsides change to match their newly transformed insides.
This also means that whenever it is Biblically prudent, we will seek to do things in a way that is culturally savvy. Erecting unneeded cultural barriers between the gospel and those that need it is just another way of requiring people to believe (and be culturally assimilated) before they belong. This affects things at KCC like musical style, graphic design aesthetics, décor, Sunday attire, etc.
Genesis 11 tells the story of the tower of Babel. In this story mankind decided to build a tower in order to make a name for themselves. It was nothing more than a monument unto themselves. It became a giant idol to the false god of human effort and ingenuity. There is a tremendous temptation to build a church the same way.
We do not want to build an empire to ourselves. Rather, we want to build and expand the Kingdom of God. This means that we do not own the Church, or the people that make it up. KCC, and her people, belong to Jesus. Jesus is the head of the Church and He may do with it what He will.
We are not interested in building giant cathedrals, impressive bank accounts, celebrity pastors, or impressive stats. Our success, and failure, rises and falls on whether or not we are growing people so that they can go. Whether we grow to become a large church with international influence, or grow to a small, anonymous size we will define success by our mission not the height of our “tower”.
We want our systems and structures to quietly and unobtrusively facilitate ministry. In that sense, KCC as an organization should be nearly invisible and unimpressive, while at the same time the people of God at KCC are brilliantly radiating the light of Christ to each other and to the world.