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Growing up in the home of an entrepreneur gave me some unique experiences. I can remember learning from a young age the importance of working hard, treating people with respect, and paying attention to details. Early mornings were common, helping my dad with a work project, delivering newspapers on the weekend, or doing yard work. My parents taught me to respect those in authority and to be courteous to those whom you serve—remembering names and significant details of their lives if possible. While these things may not seem unique on the surface, I believe they are lessons that fewer and fewer young people are learning today. As a result, I believe future leaders in the church may have a more difficult time effectively connecting with and ministering to those in their communities.
In order for a church to reach a community with the gospel of Jesus Christ and serve their particular needs for generations to come, the leadership team must understand the importance of being detail oriented. There are three specific areas where this is crucial. First, we must be detail oriented in our preaching and teaching. Second, we must be detail oriented in day-to-day ministering to the flock. Third, we must be detail oriented in our outreach to the local community. When this is done, the church will be properly positioned to effectively make disciples and meet the spiritual and physical needs of a community.
First, a church must be detail oriented in its preaching and teaching. The Bible is full of details concerning God, the worship of God, man’s salvation, and what God requires of man. A faithful pastor understands that the Word of God is living and active, and that it never returns void but accomplishes exactly what the Lord intends (Isa. 55:11; Heb. 4:12). As such, the preacher and teacher must properly prepare through prayer, study, and meditation to explain the text, to apply the text, and then to get out of the way of the text, serving as a mouthpiece for the Lord.
A detail-oriented preacher and teacher understands that correct doctrine matters. Using precise biblical and confessional language is fundamental if we are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The world needs to know that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and that there is only one way to the Father—through Jesus His Son. In tumultuous times, when political, societal, and religious differences seem more pronounced, we must not shrink back from doctrinal preaching but rather heed Paul’s advice to Timothy to “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me” (2 Tim. 1:13).
Second, a church concerned with faithfully preaching the full counsel of the Word of God will naturally be inclined to know and meet the specific needs of its own people in detail. This starts with knowing your congregation. I recently had a meeting with one of our new members who said one of the main reasons she came to our church was because she was “noticed” here. People value being noticed. They desire to be loved and valued, to have their name spoken and their story known. It does seem harder and harder in our busy world to find places and communities where people genuinely care for one another. The church should be that place where the needs and cares of the flock are shared and met by one another.
The early church as described in Acts 2:44–46 gives us a picture of the family of God caring for each other’s needs. Whether your congregation is young or old, large or small, one of the primary challenges in ministering to the flock is not only knowing the needs, but organizing and communicating those needs to others in such a way that they are met in a timely manner by the appropriate person. It’s tempting in some churches to think the pastors should be the ones doing all the ministry in the church. This is neither wise nor biblical. Pastors and teachers are to equip the saints for the work of ministry and to encourage the body of Christ to use their gifts so that the body grows and builds itself up in love (Eph. 4:11–12, 16).
Third, a detail-oriented church wherein people love one another well will also seek to reach the local community with the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. A light is not to be put under a basket but is to be put on a lampstand for all to see. Jesus’ disciples are the light of the world and cannot help but shine so that others may see their good works and give glory to God (Matt. 5:14–16). Outreach efforts to a community should begin and be maintained with great attention to detail. Before an outreach effort is started, it is important to know (1) what the true needs of the community are; (2) who, if anyone, is currently meeting those needs; and (3) how volunteers can in a purposeful and meaningful way use their gifts and talents for the glory of God. Lack of planning and preparation can really hurt a church’s effort to reach the needy. Just as a messy church facility in disrepair will likely turn away visitors and inquirers, so a church that is disorganized in its outreach efforts may fail to leave a lasting impact in the local community.
Our chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, cares for the specific needs of His flock. He knows the details of your life, including the struggles and joys of those in your family and in your community. By the Holy Spirit, He comforts, cares, and gives us peace. As we minister in His name, may we imitate Christ as we care about the details of other people’s lives, rightly handling the Word of truth and serving those from every tribe, tongue, and nation.