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Inside the Church
Inside the Church looks at the ministry of the church Jesus created using tools not usually associated with the sacred world. Taxonomies, system views and system of systems analyses are typically a part of the more technical world of systems engineering, design and application. Nevertheless, the value of these investigations in developing a better understanding of how the church is supposed to work for God’s people has proven worthy of the investment. As the journey from taxonomies to systems of systems draws to a close in this volume, the primary question has to be: Where will we find Inside the Church in the body of knowledge regarding the church and its effective operations to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20)?
Inside the Church as a Part of the Body of Knowledge
The body of knowledge is that set of all information available on a topic for study. The primary occupation of a writer of instructional texts is to contribute to that body and knowledge and move it forward with each new offering. Inside the Church is such an endeavor. The applications of some of the tools used here have not been considered for this kind of writing in the past. If these applications are truly unique, then Inside the Church has earned its place in the ecclesiastical body of knowledge.
An exhaustive taxonomy of any one of the ten ministries examined here might take volumes rather than a few pages to document. For example, the Committee on a Framework for Development of a New Taxonomy of Disease; National Research Council (2011) envisions its work to be an ambitious program, which would play out on a time scale of decades rather than years, as proceeding through a blend of top-down and bottom-up activity (p. 2). Here, creating the abbreviated taxonomies for each of the ten ministries suggested to make of the ministries of the church was a matter of only one year. But it is hoped that the thought process is sufficiently gelled to enable detailed taxonomies for specific ministries in churches and small groups to be created with ease.
Secular scientists and engineers define the complex, synergistic working together of various combinations of entities, ideas and functions to create a single outcome or set of outcomes a “system.” A basic system is comprised of inputs, a process that operates on those inputs to develop outputs, a part of which is fed back into the inputs for continuous process improvement (CPI) and general systems enrichment. The systems examined here are those that comprise the workings of individual ministries within a church or small group environment.
Inside the Church looks at the various components of the church in terms of defining its operational requirements for better understanding how to execute its mission under God’s Great Commission (Figure 2). Further, it integrates the previous works of this author as descriptions of the integral parts or segments required for the processes of evangelism, outreach and church growth. These works must be considered in light of their combined contributions to the church in addition to being studied individually.
Inside the Church takes the next step to show ministry component interdependence rather than independence. In other words, when considering the inputs to the evangelism, discipleship, worship and other ministries for the people in the church, one must consider the significant overlap of inputs regardless of the individual ministry offered. For example, the children involved in the childcare ministries will most likely be the children of the people attending the other church ministries, with little or no exception. Therefore, if a leader in the childcare ministry decides to take some action to limit the input to his ministry (e.g., the number of children allowed to attend), that decision will cause a reduction in the number of people attending each of the other ministries. If the actions within any one ministry impact other ministries so quickly, those ministries are not independent of the other ministries, but rather, dependent and as such are part of the overall outcome of the church’s ministerial effort. The discussions and understandings of the dependence, interdependence and independence of these functions are absolutely essential to church ministries Inside the Church.
Inside the Church is that text which provides the guidance and direction needed to move an individual through three spiritual life cycles. The first life cycle is represented by the person who is trying to live his life without Christ. The second is the person who allows Christ into his life but rejects His authority within that life. The third is that person who accepts Christ into his life and yields himself to His authority. Inside the Church is that text which explains the systematic accomplishment of the work described by Jesus Christ as “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20). The systems view of this process was presented in the Chapter 1 as Figure 4. It is preceded by new taxonomies for each ministry and followed by a system of systems view that takes each of the ten individual ministries as parallel planes.
And so, Inside the Church facilitates the overall church and small group ministries to provide the taxonomy understanding of a ministry, the systems architecture for applying that ministry and the system of systems architecture for applying the system to services alongside the other ministry systems. And certainly not for the sake of supporting the unreasonable or out of control egos of those so led, but rather, to support the work of God through Jesus Christ here on the face of His Earth.