Ken Yeo 杨全荣的个人网站
Ken Yeo 杨全荣的个人网站

Seven Church Ministry Models

This paper will address the topic of the seven church ministry models and will argue that I agree with Svigel’s proposal, which is “as one moves from models 1 through 6, the need for wise, well-informed, intentional, and consistent attention to the marks and works increases, perhaps exponentially. Church leaders and members need to be aware of these challenges and plan accordingly.”[1] I will first defend models 5 to 7 and then change my role to defend models 1 to 3. Finally, I will conclude with the reason why I agree with Svigel’s proposal.

First, I will defend church models 5 to 7. Biblically, the earliest church is a megachurch. Through Peter’s preaching, God added 3000 (Acts 2:41) and then 5000 men (Acts 4:4) to the church in Jerusalem. They seem to have no issues with being big and keeping the marks and works of the church. Since God used Peter’s powerful preaching to deliver the gospel and many were saved, God could still do the same through satellite campuses and online messages. Theologically, although a megachurch has many members, it is still one body (1 Cor 12:12). Therefore it is better to stay as one big church. Furthermore, it pleases the Lord when we stay united as one church instead of dividing into multiple churches (John 17:23).

Now, I will defend church models 1 to 3. First, biblically, the Lord’s Supper is not an optional church activity (1 Cor 11:27-34). It is the command of the Lord for His church to observe communion, ideally on each Lord’s day (Acts 20:7). Furthermore, the pastors need to know the congregation. First, the pastors need to know the congregation like a father with the children to effectively exhort, encourage, change, and call them into God’s kingdom and glory(1 Thess 2:11). Second, pastoring is not just about delivering messages; it is also about being an example and care for the congregation (1 Pet 5:2-3). Paul is our example of pastoring: like a nursing mother taking care of her children (1 Thess 2:9). Second, theologically, preaching the word and correct administration of the sacraments are the two marks of the church[2]. A church that is missing these essential marks “will eventually erode, crack, and crumble.”[3] Third, historically, the earliest church fathers observe the Lord’s Supper on every Lord’s Day[4], which is harder to perform in a megachurch and impossible in an online church. Second, the mother-daughter church model is not new because it is similar to the Geneva church model. The Geneva city has a mother church that was led by Calvin and his fellow elders; and daughter churches that were led by other qualified elders. The elders carry out preaching of the word and proper administration of the sacraments at each daughter church[5].

In conclusion, I agree with Svigel’s proposal that as one moves from models 1 through 6, it is harder to keep the marks and works of the church. Therefore Churches need to be aware of these challenges and plan accordingly as the church grows in size. My reasons are, first, biblically, the Lord’s Supper is not optional, and the pastors need to know the flocks to minister to them. Second, theologically, a church that is missing the marks of the church will eventually cause it to crumble. Third, historically, the earliest church observed the Lord’s Supper weekly, and the mother-daughter model is similar to the Geneva church model.


[1] Michael Svigel, “7 Church Ministry Models in Light of the Ideal,” RetroChristianity (blog), 2012, http://www.retrochristianity.org/2012/02/13/7-church-ministry-models-from-ideal-to-awful/.

[2] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Hezekiah Howe; Philip H. Nicklin, 1816), bk. IV, Chap. I,9.

[3] Michael J. Svigel, RetroChristianity: Reclaiming the Forgotten Faith (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012), chaps. 8, “The Essential Marks of a Local Church”.

[4] Rick Brannan, The Apostolic Fathers in English (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), chap. The Didache 14.1.

[5] Mark Larson, “John Calvin and Genevan Presbyterianism,” Westminster Theological Journal 60 (1998): chap. II, “Ministers with Other Fit Persons”: The Presbyterial Government of the Churches”.

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