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In order for the kingdom of God to advance, blood must flow. The blood must pump from the “heart” to the “extremities.” I believe the gospel message is magnetic; however, our methodologies can significantly muddy the Good News of God’s Word. In some instances, a metaphorical arteriosclerosis—or buildup in an artery—exists, and we, as leaders, need a spiritual angioplasty. In short, if the blood doesn’t flow, the body can’t grow.

Roger Archer

How do we get to spiritual wellness? Maintaining an appropriate philosophy of ministry is the key to keeping the arteries of a local church clear. Most leaders passionately love the church, so what causes the disconnect between that love and fruitfulness?

I realize that only God can make the church grow. However, leaders must do everything possible to enrich and develop themselves. Healthy things grow, and healthy leaders more effectively advance the kingdom.

The first issue to address is whether the church is systematic or symbiotic. In other words, “Is the church an organization or an organism?” The answer is yes!

The balance between systemology and symbiosis, between organization and organic, is as much art as science. Both metaphorically and scripturally, we are a body. We require organization; at the same time, we are a group of living cells in desperate need of one another. We exist for one another’s mutual benefit.

The moment we begin to think only of ourselves, the arteries begin to harden. Equally, when we abandon good systems, missional drift ensues shortly thereafter. We must be an organic entity that displays supreme organization. And we must exist for a purpose greater than our individual members.

Second, we must ask, “Are we a pond or a river?” A pond contains fish, foliage and frogs. However, in a pond little to no fresh water goes in, and even less goes out. The river also has fish, foliage and frogs, but the water flow is ever changing, always fresh.

Obviously, life can be sustained in both environments. But I much prefer fresh water! A fresh flow of the Holy Spirit keeps leaders and churches healthy and refreshed. The greater the movement is, the fresher the water will be. The greater the movement, the more energy the water will produce. The greater the movement, the greater the adventure can be.

I want to invite all local church leaders to interrogate and to clarify a philosophy of ministry. Clear vision of ministry is vital for the health of both leaders and churches. When we become resolved in our endeavor and clarify our philosophy, we open the arteries and increase the effectiveness of the blood flow. As the flow increases, health follows, and the kingdom of God can purposefully advance.

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is the senior pastor of Puyallup Foursquare Church (Puyallup III Foursquare Church) in Puyallup, Wash.