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Things Your Denominational
Executive Would Love To Tell You*

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.

Number 344
Perhaps one task toward healthier ministries is to gain a greater understanding of the ministry of denominational executives ("DEs"). As pastors and congregations begin to understand their ministry and attitudes, perhaps DEs, pastors and congregations will enjoy an even healthier partnership for the Kingdom. 
What things would they just love to tell you? 
As if you don't already know and haven't already seen it in your DE, here's some things they would just love to tell you...over and over and over again. 

1) The Body of Christ is a marvelously diverse entity.

Even within denominations it is remarkable to see how congregations which share common doctrinal confessions can be so unique in their own way. Denominational execs enjoy the opportunity to see and work in an environment which allows them to see the remarkable richness and diversity of the Body of Christ.

2) I Love Being A Denominational Executive Because I Can Make A Difference As A DE I Can't Make Anywhere Else.

Denominational execs have unique opportunities to make a difference in a broad spectrum of areas. They can mentor and support pastors, encourage and assist congregations and be catalysts of change in various denominational entities. 

Whether through seminars, programs, workshops or congregational programs, DEs have excellent opportunities to facilitate, support and make significant differences over very wide range of ministry settings--locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The most important difference they can make, however, is in you and your ministry.

3) I Love Talking About The Great Commission.

Denominational execs are driven by an unquenchable passion for the Great Commission. This passion what continues to propel, energize and re-fuel them in their ministries from congregation to congregation, meeting to meeting, project to project, year-in, year-out. Of course each DE has a specialty and unique giftedness best suited for expressing their passion. 

Whether their specialty is education, stewardship, youth, evangelism, conflict intervention, leadership training, administration or any other areas of ministry specialization (or combination thereof), the one thing that will always stand out is their unquenchable, undeniable and unstoppable passion for the Great Commission. It's highly contagious...and they eagerly want to share it with you and your congregation!

4) The Best And Deepest Relationships I Have Are With Leaders Who Share Their Lives And Ministry With Me.

Denominational Execs are passionate about ministry…yours and theirs. They enjoy hearing of your ministry. They love encouraging leaders and congregations to move forward toward greater ministry experiences. They love bragging about your church and sharing with others the remarkable strides and sacrifices your leaders have made for the Great Commission.

Within the bond of mutual trust and support, DEs also enjoy hearing the dreams, visions and ideas for ministry from others even as they appreciate exploring their ideas, dreams and visions with others. 

5) I Love To Experiment With Creativity.

If pastors think they are deluged with ideas, programs, seminars, new ministry trends and other items from voluminous junk mail, denominational execs are even more deluged. Given the many kinds of resources that are available, DEs are constantly being stimulated with new ideas, applications, approaches and resources for supporting healthier congregational ministry. 

DEs often crave the opportunity to explore new ideas with others and responsibly experiment with these ideas in a congregational setting. Those congregations and pastors who are open to these "cutting edge" creative approaches often experience the most vibrant and energetic interaction with the DE. This helps foster an ever-growing partnership between pastors, congregations, DEs and the denomination. 

The result? Pastors, congregations and DEs all grow from the experience and are able to refine the experiment to assist other congregations throughout their sphere of influence. DEs, of course, will rejoice that there are pastors and congregations who are willing to let them take their greatest and most creative efforts and use them. Those are the kind of churches DEs really get excited working in! 

Turn your DE loose in your congregation. Give them a little creative freedom and watch your DE resonate with a contagious passion and enthusiasm right before your very eyes!

6) I Love The Freedom To Grow.

Given the remarkable diversity of connections which DEs enjoy—with consultants, leaders from other denominations and, of course, leaders from within one’s denomination—they continually see other ecclesiastical leaders growing in areas of expertise. The growth of others often sparks a desire to do something unique for the Kingdom. Often all they need is the freedom, blessing and prayers of others to "go for it" and grow.

7) Ministry In The Congregation Is Where It’s Really At.

It’s no secret. All things considered, it appears the congregation is really where the most complete and exciting experience of ministry occurs. Sure there is conflict and frustration. DEs certainly see that. 

What DEs also see, however, is a dynamic interaction between shepherd and flock, pastor and people. DEs know the real core and focus of ministry congregation and the community to which it ministers--not the denominational office or bureaucracy. Though DEs have given up this daily dynamic interaction within a given congregation to serve at a denominational level, they know their best and most joyful efforts always involve congregations. 

DEs experience the greatest joy when they are directing their energies to influencing healthy and vibrant dynamic interactions between pastors, congregations, and the broader unchurched communities to which they minister. Though administrative bureaucracy has its rewards the greatest joy is the ministry to congregations.

8) God’s Working In The Church Is Remarkable.

DEs see the Spirit of God moving through congregations in ways few others see. They see the ups and downs. They see churches growing and struggling. They see how pastors grow and mature professionally over the years. They also share in the frustration of the experiences which pastors and congregations face. But, through it all, DE’s know one thing for sure. God is working in churches in remarkable ways. His working is nothing less than awesome. 

Give a DE five minutes and in just three-hundred short seconds you will hear some of the most remarkable testimonies of God’s working in all kinds of churches…perhaps even yours. Give them another minute or two and you, too, will share the DEs fascination of God's working for weeks, months and years to come!

9) The Harvest Is Very Great And The Workers All Too Few.

DE’s, like pastors and all other leaders, are always looking to enlarge their ministry team. Whether  DE are specialists in one or two areas or generalists in many areas of ministry, they need competent, energetic and enthusiastic individuals to assist them. When pastors or congregations withhold their service as potential team members they do not only hurt the DEs' work. They are really hurting themselves too. 

DEs see that the harvest is overwhelmingly great. Much of their ministry is to share the burden of the enormity of reaping this harvest with others. Willing and energetic efforts by pastors and local congregations to assist will provide critical assistance and teamwork to reap that harvest for God's glory.

10) I Really Do Care For Your Ministry.

Whether driving in an area near your church or praying over your congregation while preparing for the next thing to do, DE’s really do care for your ministry. Though they don’t often acknowledge it, they do pray for your ministry. They really do. They think about it, agonize about it, dream dreams about it and seek God’s blessings to strengthen you and increase your congregation's ministry. 

They pray that the pastor will remain faithful. They pray that the leaders will remain strong. They pray that the congregation will be open to a greater portion of God’s vision for them. And, while visiting the pastor and congregation, they pray for themselves too. They pray that God will use them so that what they say and do will result in a greater sense of enthusiasm and growth for the Body of Christ through you and your congregation.

11) You’re Doing An Excellent Work For God.

Sadly, some DEs fail in this area. In their own business and fatigue they sometimes forget to encourage brothers and sisters in ministry. Many DEs, however, do their greatest ministry not by designing and leading workshops, seminars, consultations and providing congregational resources. 

Instead, they find that their greatest ministry is to encourage pastors and leaders to continue to press forward in their excellent work. DEs thank those who assist in the ministry in any way they can. Perhaps the best DEs are the ones who can celebrate the remarkable giftedness which God has given to the church in a genuine and secure manner. DEs are not threatened by the remarkable giftedness of others. Instead they rejoice in these remarkable gifts and look for ways to maximize others' remarkable gifts for use in the Kingdom.

12) Give Me A Call If You Need Assistance. I’ll Be There.

DE’s don’t want individuals to be afraid to call them for assistance. They do want to help. Even if your church or ministry is frustrated, anxious and seemingly headed for some major conflict, DEs want to know. 

No, DEs are not going to gossip, put down, or berate you. No, they are not going to "tattle" on you to the denominational authorities. No, they are not going to "black-mark" you or ridicule you or your congregation before others. 

DEs want to help you. They want you and the ministry you lead to succeed. They will do all within their power to make that happen. When you call your DEs, they will take you under wing. They will direct you to appropriate and effective people and resources. They will intervene personally as necessary. They will direct you to areas which can support you and your congregation. Give them a call. They’ll be there. They will support you personally and prayerfully.

13) Let’s Do Ministry Together.

DEs know they are not "better" or "worse" than others. God has simply called them to be specialists in the Kingdom. Whether their specialty is stewardship, evangelism, education, youth, worship, missions, congregational health, or any other areas of ministry, they invite you do ministry together. Let them share in your ministry. 

Even as DEs invite you on their denominational team, invite them to share the team experience of your congregation. After all, teamwork is a two-way street. DEs will come your way willingly and enthusiastically. Your willingness to do the same provides a remarkable base for a God-pleasing mutually beneficial ministry relationship. 

Thomas F. Fischer

* This article is a companion to Ministry Health article 343 "Thirty Things Your Denominational Executive May Not Tell You" 

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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:20 PM