Interview: Basic Church Management System Innovation – “The Grape Trellis System”

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In recent decades, one of the biggest management dilemmas faced by many grassroots churches in China has been how to get out of the patriarchal system, especially in the process of growing a church into a larger church. and fewer and more ministries. So how to innovate in the management system and how to apply it to very specific localized practice according to biblical teachings is also a question that many teachers, pastors and clergy have been troubled with over the past few decades.

One of the most realistic tensions today is how to maintain the spiritual leadership of pastoral leaders and break out of the custom of parental autocracy.

A few days ago, Pastor D, the leader of a grassroots church in eastern China, shared the experience of trying to locate biblical principles: the grape trellis system.

This is a set of workable pastoral administrative management systems that they have been gradually forming in their ministries for over ten years. Pastor D said he had experimented with different types and stages of family church management systems in the past, such as paternalism and presbytery, but found many contradictions and conflicts. After his studies, he formed some thoughts on the healthy development of the church in the future and applied them to practice. “Our current system is not the traditional patriarchal system or the reformed system. I personally designed the grape trellis administration system used by our church based on its actual environment,” he said.

Pastor D explained what the “grape trellis system” is.

First, Jesus Christ is the vine, and we are branches – the relationship on the vine means that everyone is equal. We have rejected the pyramid system, the dictatorial system, the oligarchy system, the paternalistic system and the parliamentary system. When each gathering place grows enough to become self-sustaining, it is an independent, independently run church.

Second, regardless of their seniority, whether you served for two years or 50 years, these two people also hold the same position of responsibility.

Third, the branches of the grape shelf are connected with the trunk, and the four principles of unity are emphasized: unity of truth, unity of relationship, unity of feelings, and unity of administration.

Pastor D said pastors and clergy at his church had been discussing goals and plans for ten years and no one could change them without permission. And whoever makes mistakes in three aspects, namely moral issues, greed for money and heresy, can be expelled. Without these three issues, the meetinghouse leader can handle them himself, and the other fraternal churches need not intervene or comment on these things.

He emphasized unity. First of all, the unity of truth, and especially teachers and pastors need to have common discussions and a basic consensus in theology, in order to promote the development of the church.

“After building the unity of truth, emotion and theology, you will find that the development of the church is not tiring, because it is not necessary for the leader to unify the whole country. They are separate business models and are linked together like a grape trellis,” he added.

– Translated by Charlie Li

专访|一基层教会管理体制的创新经验:葡萄架体系

Interview: Basic Church Management System Innovation – “The Grape Trellis System”

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