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.

FootbalTeamAs 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.

The 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!

How  is your church building an army? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, or you can visit

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