by Brad Clarkson
Worship and Leadership Development Pastor
This coming Sunday, just like the one before it and the one that will come after it, scores of people will show up at Steele Creek Church of Charlotte with an expectation of encountering God. People have gathered in corporate worship for thousands of years. Even though the ways in which the church convenes corporate worship have changed in the past 50 years, the common thread that weaves us into the fabric of the ancient church is our desire to connect with God and His people. Essentially, the “what” and the “why” of our gatherings have remained the same, but the "how" has changed dramatically.
One of the most significant changes in how we do church in the modern era is the emergence of the mega-church (approx. 2000 members). The Hartford institute estimates there are a little over 300,000 Protestant churches in America and of that number, less than one percent are mega-churches. When we planted in 1995, no one expected that Steele Creek Church of Charlotte would become one of the largest churches in the region and yet this is who we are.
As a pastor I have often wrestled with the demands of caring for so many people. I remember times driving home from work feeling like all my best efforts had fallen woefully short. I was surrounded by people and ironically alone because I had built a ministry that was dependent on my gifts. Those gifts were coming up short.
Fortunately I am surrounded by an incredible group of people that serve the worship ministry. They saw my struggle and helped me rebuild the worship ministry in a way that was no longer so heavily dependent on me. The more I was able to give away parts of the ministry the more freedom I had to focus on the things of God was calling me to. This process was life-changing for me and it opened the door for others to step into leadership roles.
As we embark on our third decade I believe our greatest challenge is going to be in becoming a church where everyone serves and everyone uses their gift in a way that accomplishes our vision. However, the size of our church can make both serving and using your gift a challenging thing. Meeting this challenge will require us to rethink HOW we do ministry. In the past, we have focused on a ministry model that relied heavily on a limited number of staff and pastors leading the church. Our new vision is to see every ministry of the church led by ministry teams that rely on the people of the church to accomplish our vision. In the past, the people were reliant on the pastors. Now the pastors are reliant on the people. Big shift. Big difference. Bigger impact.
This past weekend, about 130 ministry team leaders converged on White Oak Conference Center to connect with one another and to hear how our new ministry team strategy will be implemented. Next Sunday September 11 is our twenty-first anniversary. On that day you will hear an update on the five-year vision and be offered an opportunity to help us accomplish our vision. I have never been more excited about the future of our church!