Ministry Innovations and Changes

By Kent Fillinger and Ben Simms

Representatives of megachurches and emerging megachurches were asked to respond to two questions about ministries and programming at their churches. Here is a sampling of their responses:

What is one new ministry the church has launched in the last two years that has had significant impact on the church’s growth?

Emerging Megachurches:

  • Food distribution in local elementary school in conjunction with the Food Bank and The Center for People in Need has involved more than 100 people in service.
  • Worship services other than Sunday morning.
  • Hiring of Hispanic pastor and starting two Hispanic services.
  • Children’s ministry program and indoor playground.
  • Focused all our adult ministry efforts into a small-group focus.
  • Connections Ministry that is composed of “Door connectors” who greet people at the entrance, “bulletin connectors” who hand out bulletins, “hot zone connectors” who help people find their way around the building, and “welcome center connectors” who answer questions and distribute visitor gift bags.
  • Inner-city campus.
  • An ongoing church membership (“What We Believe”) class.


  • Community Outreach Ministries: (1) PB+J Ministry—take peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless on Sunday afternoons; (2) Mom’s Closet—provide life skills, food, clothing, etc. for single-parent moms; (3) Balloon Angels—take balloons to cancer patients at Children’s Hospital; and (4) Castle Mice-Prom Project—provide dress, accessories, and hairstyling to high school girls who could not otherwise afford to attend prom.
  • Community 4:12 Ministry is an outreach ministry primarily working with immigrant families in a nearby community offering ESL (English as a Second Language), tutoring, Christmas gifts, etc.
  • Video venue.
  • Arts on Main (worship, fine arts, technical arts, and visual arts).
  • Added worship venues: Unplugged (acoustic worship), Overdrive (more rock style worship), and Singles worship time.
  • Subdivided our geographical location into eight communities with a “community pastor” over each “community.” Each community has small groups that meet in and minister to those in their neighborhoods.
  • Disabilities ministry.
  • Less ministries.

During the tenure of the current senior minister, what one ministry change has had the greatest impact on the church’s growth?

Emerging Megachurches:

  • Implementation of the teaching team and the development of corresponding study material for weekly messages and small-group studies.
  • We started thinking more like a large church (i.e., delegation, addition of more elders and ministry leaders, and we became a “staff-directed, elder-protected” church).
  • The growth of adding new staff—we staff for growth rather than staff as a result of growth.
  • Launching a building campaign to create additional education and gathering space as well as to improve the “curb appeal” and the image of our facilities.


  • Priority of mission, vision, and strategy with an emphasis on small groups and being externally focused.
  • From the outside it would seem the ministry change is about going from traditional to contemporary. We were way on one side and are (now) on the other, but the real ministry change was about focus. We decided to be about the “sick” and not the “well”—the prodigal, the lost coin, the lost sheep—and not the ones who were already hanging around. There are plenty of them (“prodigals”) out there if you can keep the “older brother” out of the way.
  • Relocation.
  • Weekly prayer time of a staff and elder team has raised the bar for the importance of prayer, created unity, and of course, benefited from the power of prayer.

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