Is Your Church an Army or a Football Team?2 min read

armySomeone once joked that many churches are like a football game: twenty-two people on the field desperately in need of rest and hundreds in the stands desperately in need of exercise!*

No matter what size your church, Christianity is not a spectator sport. The general trend, however, is like this: the smaller the church, the larger percentage of those involved; the larger the church, the smaller percentage involved.

As churches grow, they build bigger buildings and add more staff. In fact, some church leaders boast “We are a staff-led church.” What that sometimes means is the staff does most of the ministry and the “spectators” pay the salaries through their offerings. For many, Christianity (and going to church) has become another consumer event. You pay, the staff delivers. Sooner or later, the economics of this trend hit a ceiling. As a church reaches a certain size, no matter how wealthy and generous the people—they can’t afford staff to do everything.

quarterback_shaun_shehan_takes_on_the_university_of_floridas_defensive_line_gainesville_floridaThe real issue is that this type of system is not biblical. Church is not designed like a sports spectacle. It’s designed more like an army. An army has generals. The generals (and other leaders) equip the troops, and the troops go out and fight the war. In this picture, in some churches, the general would give a weekly pep talk and then the troops would go out and eat lunch while the general is sent to fight the war. That’s not a good way to win a war. For the church, it’s no way to win the world with the faith that can change lives for the better.

The Bible clearly says key leaders in the church are to “equip God’s people for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). Why did God organize the church this way? So that everyone could experience the joy and fulfillment of serving. To do good for others is good for you. Also, you and others in your church know more people than your church staff. In your spare time, you could do more good than your staff could accomplish working 80 hours per week.

We just can’t beat God’s system!

Turning Your Church Inside Out Conferences

Hunter will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming conferences “Turning Your Church Inside Out” in Lansing and Gaylord. These conferences are underwritten by Church Extension Fund of the Michigan District, LCMS.

In this teaching event, you will learn about the power of engagement as a driving force in the growth of your church.


Editor’s note: this blog was originally published on Church Doctor Ministries blog at Used by permission.

*Quote attributed to Ray C. Stedman as found on

(main image via iStockPhoto)

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About the Author

Rev. Dr. Kent R. Hunter is the founder and leader of Church Doctor Ministries ( In the past 30 years, he has consulted over 1,400 churches in urban, rural, and suburban areas. His passion is to come alongside pastors and church leaders to provide encouragement, direction, focus, and turn challenges into opportunities for mission through the local church.

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