Creating the Right Ministry Atmosphere

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*Guest blog, Susie Walther, www.thewellbiblestudy.org.  I am reposting this because Susie is right.  In my years of ministry I find the perfect balance very difficult to obtain… We want to not scare away newcomers, but we also want to push women to grow.  It’s very tricky!

“Mike Breen of 3DM talks about the importance of calibrating two things in a ministry – invitation and challenge.

By invitation, he means that people feel welcomed, encouraged, loved and supported. Challenge refers to an environment committed to accountability, discipleship, serving, and any necessary prodding to help people take steps into other people’s lives. How a group calibrates invitation and challenge determines the kind of Christian culture that’ll be created and experienced.

High invitation with high challenge yields an “empowered discipling” community.

However, high invitation with low challenge produces a “cozy consumer” culture.

When a group has low invitation and low challenge it generates a “boring, apathetic” community, while low invitation with high challenge creates a “stressful, discouraged” culture.

By nature, we have a tendency to prefer an environment that is either inviting or challenging. That means women who love invitation may find themselves chafing under the challenge they hear at The Well, and women who love a challenge would prefer to avoid everything except the Bible study part.

However, the reality is you need BOTH invitation and challenge. You need to be hugged and spanked, encouraged and admonished, pulled into the group and pushed out into your church and community. You need to be prayed for, but you also need to complete your Bible study. You need to be supported, but you also need to memorize your verse. You need to be talked to and noticed, but you also need to learn how to talk to and notice others.

The Well aims to calibrate towards high invitation and high challenge, knowing we will always lose some women who prefer something more or something less. We won’t ever do this invitation and challenge thing perfectly, but we’re sure going to go into eternity trying.”

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