Through my course work in the MACO program, I have been developing a ministry to help equip men and women who have been elected into leadership positions to be better prepared to fulfill their responsibilities. This ministry would focus on the exploration of the leaders' core values and the biblical study of the principles of spiritual leadership as they apply to our mandate to proclaim Christ to the lost in our communities.
I have chosen to title this ministry - BOLD Christian Outreach Equipping Ministry: Equipping Congregations for Outreach through Biblical Outreach Leadership Development.
The mission of BOLD is to equip, encourage, and empower Christian leaders to effectively lead their congregations to intentionally share Christ's love and the message of salvation with the people of their community.
The purpose of this ministry is to provide assistance to the pastors of congregations in equipping their leadership in the area of Christian outreach. The primary goal is to help congregations see the importance of their existence in light of the mission of God. The ministry would provide assistance to congregations in the development of their respective Christian outreach ministry programs by providing them with the services of a part-time Director of Christian Outreach at an affordable price. By working with people who are committed to the process of outreach ministry and by helping them to develop their own plans for engaging in outreach ministry within their own communities, the ownership of the ministries they develop would stay in their hands. After an initial period of direct ministry to the congregation, the Director of Christian Outreach would then continue to serve in an advisory role to the congregation(s) as they continue to develop their own ministries.
My passion is to serve in rural ministry and, in particular, in the area of congregation transformation or revitalization. In research conducted by Ron Crandall published in Turnaround Strategies for the Small Church, he lists the following twelve critical tasks that were viewed as the most important by turnaround pastors:
- Enhance congregational confidence and hope for the future.
- Stimulate concern for unreached persons in the community.
- Engage in proactive and effective pastoral leadership.
- Encourage an open, loving atmosphere in the congregation.
- Clarify your own personal vision and be an example.
- Help develop a clear, shared, congregational vision.
- Work and pray for spiritual renewal among the members.
- Provide high quality preaching and inspiring worship.
- Lead the effort to reach new people and grow.
- Emphasize and practice prayer.
- Develop new programs, especially for children and youth.
- Plan to take risks and take them. (Crandall, 1995, p. 22, 23).
I see value in each of the tasks listed above, and I will do whatever I am able to assist rural pastors to implement these in their congregations. Many rural congregations are unable to support a full-time Director of Christian Outreach or even to make a long-term commitment to a shared or part-time outreach professional, this is why there is a need for the formation of BOLD Christian Outreach Equipping Ministry.