I recently went through the book of Acts in my Bible reading time. Love reading about the early church – who they were, how they functioned, how they reached people. And one of the the patterns I noticed was the lack of patterns. I don’t see much of a “model for ministry” appearing.
Compare Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 with Paul’s in Acts 17 – totally different. There are times when we see somewhat confrontational evangelism based on logic and persuasion, and others where we see “power evangelism” based on miracles. There are times when Paul starts a church and stays for an extended period of time, and others where his stay is intentionally short.
Today pastors are looking for a successful ministry model they can photocopy and apply in their church, but if there was a right way to do ministry, I think we’d hear about it in the Bible.
The truth is that it’s not photocopying, it’s more like cooking. There’s a recipe which, when put together, creates our ministry model. And the recipe includes some ingredients that are unique to us: our locale, our gifts, our passions. The process of discovering all that may not be as easy as photocopying, but it’s far more effective and honors our God who makes all things unique.