We assist organizations (churches, non-profit ministries, schools, and other entities) to fulfill their purposes. For most Christian organizations, this is found in the Great Commission given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ:
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB)
The Church is both a living Organism and a living Organization
Jesus taught this when He introduced His plan to build a new organization, which we call the Church.
And I also say to thee, that thou art a rock [petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18 YLT. Note: the words in parenthesis are the authors, and not those of Young)
Jesus introduced the idea of the Church by using a physical analogy. Thus, He had given Simon the new name of Peter, or as it is in the Greek – “Petros.”
In the Greek, this word is almost always used to refer to an isolated rock or stone. In verse 18, He said He would build an assembly of people out of individual stones (petros) and that He would be the massive strata of rock (petra) underneath those individual stones (see S. Zodiates, Dict.).
Note the Greek word “ecclesia” is translated “assembly” instead of “church.” This is the most accurate translation of “ecclesia” as it clearly conveys the idea of an assemblage or group of people who are called out of the general population.
Ecclesia is used in Acts 19:39 to refer to a “lawful assembly” of people who were called out by the officials of Ephesus to consider the charges against the apostle Paul. When “ecclesia” is translated “church” it becomes very confusing because “church” does not distinguish between a building, a denomination, a worship experience, or a group of people who are followers of Jesus Christ.
According to some, the English word “church” comes from the Greek word kyriakos, “belonging to the Lord” (kyrios). This word is never used to indicate the assembly of believers in the New Testament.
To help clarify the meaning, we capitalize the word “Church” whenever we are referring to the entire assembly of believers in Jesus Christ and we will use the lower case form “church” when we are referring to a local assembly of believers.
Note: For a more indepth discussion about the negative effects of confusing the church as a building with the Church as the body of Christ, click here.
And, contrary to what some have taught about Peter and his supremacy in the early Church, we know that Peter understood exactly what Jesus meant by his explanation of the Church in his letter:
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 NASB)
Peter and all of the New Testament writers understood this subtle but important way individuals (who are organisms) are combined together by Christ into a new organization called the Church, or better, the Assembly of the Living God.
Organizations Are Built through Relationships
Notice in the above passage that Jesus said we are to “make disciples OF all the nations.” He did NOT say “make disciples IN all the nations.” Why did Jesus make this distinction? In the original Greek the English word translated “nations” is “ethne.” This comes from “ethnos,” which refers to what we would call “ethnic groups” of people. Whenever any group of people is formed around some common denominator, it becomes an “ethnic group.” Jesus emphasized the fact that individuals become disciples as part of a group, or an “ethos.” Therefore, all groups are an organization of people around some common purpose. Thus, the local church is a group or an organization of people with the common purpose of making disciples.
When Jesus said we are to “baptize them,” He was combining the idea of an organization of people with the truth that individuals must make a personal decision to become a disciple of Jesus. At the same time, the process of growing as a disciple takes place best when it is done in the company of other believers. Hence, Jesus created the local church as the primary organization where spiritual growth and spiritual reproduction is to occur.
God Created Organizations
All organizations (churches, ministries, schools, and other entities) are comprised of people who have unique needs. At the same time, as soon as people are grouped together in churches, ministries, and schools, the organizations also have unique needs. The same God who created human beings also created organizations. Human beings are designed by God in such an amazing way that every person has trillions of individual cells that normally work in complete harmony with one another. All human beings have a common design that has been put into us by the Creator.
In the same way, all organizations are made up of individuals who must work in harmony with each other in order for the organization to function effectively and efficiently. We know that all human beings have a common design, therefore God also used a common design for similar organizations. One way we can understand and utilize this common design is by applying the principles of cybernetic systems.
Just as human beings can grow and develop, so organizations can grow and develop. And, just as human beings can develop diseases, illnesses and other disabilities, organizations can also develop diseases, illnesses and other disabilities. As in the case with people who go to doctors to get health checkups, physicals, diagnosis, and treatment for diseases; organizations also need health checkups, physicals, diagnosis, and treatment for diseases.
The Analogy of the Church as the Body of Christ
The fact that churches must be understood and developed as organizations has a strong biblical basis. The apostle Paul constantly used the human body as an analogy to understand the Church. He said the Church is the Body of Christ. In the books of Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians he uses the word “body” to describe the church more than 30 times.
Perhaps the best reference to the Church as an organization similar to the human body is found in 1 Corinthians 12 “As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (12:20 NIV). When Paul referred to the “parts” he was talking about the fantastic systems that make up the human body. He mentions five of these systems: eyes (optical system); ears (auditory system); hands (manipulative system); feet (mobility system); and smell (olfactory system). We know that the human body is dependent on many systems working together in order for us to have healthy bodies that can serve the Lord. Stop for a moment and imagine what it would be like if you lost the use of these five body systems!
Because we can develop diseases of all of these body systems, we now have medical specialists who treat each of these areas. Because the Church is also a body that has similar systems, it also needs specialists that can treat diseases or develop the potential of the Church. That is why Paul concludes his analogy of the Church as a body with the following:
26 (MSG) If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. (27 NLT) Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. (28 BBE). And God has put some in the church, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then those with wonder-working powers, then those with the power of taking away disease, helpers, wise guides, users of strange tongues.
The Lord revealed to Paul this amazing design that He has placed within all living organizations. To help explain the depth of this passage, we have selected from three different translations. Note what he says in verse 26: There is a significant relationship between all of the major functions of the Church. This applies to both the things that are hurtful and the things that are helpful! In verse 27 he states the simple truth: every individual believer has been created to be part of the Church. They need the Church and the Church needs them. That is why it is so important that we give priority to helping individuals identify their spiritual gifts and find out where they fit within the church. That is why Paul names eight ministries in verse 28. All eight of these are essential to fulfilling all that Jesus intended when He gave us the Great Commission. Just as we have specialists in the medical field to take care of the human body, so God has given us specialists in the ministry who address the major needs of Christ’s spiritual body – the Church.
Consultants Are Similar to Medical Doctors
Because most churches are complex spiritual bodies or organizations, they need consultants who are trained in understanding the complexity of these spiritual bodies. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul calls these consultants “wise guides.” Most consultants come under the category of “wise guides.” They specialize in giving wise guidance to churches and other organizations. In order to do this they use diagnostic tools just as medical doctors use diagnostic tests to help them gage the health of people.
How is GMI unique as a Consulting Ministry?
We offer various consulting options to all organizations (churches, non-profit ministries, schools, businesses, and other entities). Our consultants can assist your organization with many different solutions. Our major focus is on church renewal, church planting, evangelism, and disciple-building activities. We also recognize that every organization has more specific needs that require assistance. These include areas like communication, education, finances, information technologies, leadership development, logistics, planning, management, youth ministries, and worship.
We are available to discuss your needs by phone at no cost to you. Then, we can make recommendations to you based on your requirements, location, and available budget.
Some of these options include consultants who are contracted to work directly through GMI. Some are consultants who work through other qualified organizations that we have investigated and verified as to their qualifications.
Consulting Options Available Directly From GMI
In some cases, we may refer our clients to other consultants who have been investigated and approved by GMI, but who do not work directly under our supervision. We also have some consultants who work directly under the supervision of GMI. All of these are either certified by or in the process of gaining certification from The Society For Church Consultants. In addition, our GMI consultants utilize the Biblical principles developed by Mel Schell called “Total Organizational Growth Systems (TOGS).” TOGS is largely based on the universal principles of cybernetic systems coupled with the principles of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus.
For purposes of consulting within GMI, we define all organizations as cybernetic systems. One of the most important principles of cybernetic systems is that a change made to one part of any organization will affect all other areas of that organization. The degree to which it affects other parts of the organization is important in deciding how we study organizations and how we make changes in organizations. Because local churches are one of the most complex organizations in our society, we have developed a more specific application of the TOGS model called the Total Church System (TCS) model.
The Use Of the Church Vitality Survey
One of the major tools we have to identify the major opportunities and needs within an organization is through our automated questionnaire. Our church questionnaire is called “The Church Vitality Survey”. To learn more about this very important tool, please click or touch here. more
The Use of the Spiritual Gift of Cybernetics
All churches are organizations that can benefit from well-trained and gifted persons to assist them. That is why one of the spiritual gifts or offices identified by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:28 is the gift of “cybernetics.” In most of our translations it is translated as “administrations” or “government.” We believe one of the best translations of this word is “wise guides.” It is found in the following translation:
And God has put some in the church, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then those with wonder-working powers, then those with the power of taking away disease, helpers, wise guides, users of strange tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28 Bible in Basic English)
The office of “wise guides” comes from a more accurate translation of the Greek word kybérnēsis. Our English word “cybernetics” comes from kybérnēsis. Originally, this word was used to describe someone who steers or guides a ship. These men, called pilots, had to be able to chart a course for a sailing ship that took into account the complex factors of the direction of the wind, the types of sails, the set of the sails, the construction of the ship, the currents in the water or river, and several other factors. Most importantly, they needed to know how to read a compass, navigate by the stars, and read maps and charts.
The spiritual gift of cybernetics enables the person who has it to understand the complex interaction between the various people, programs, groups, plans, and cultural influences within all organizations. Not only can Christians with this gift understand these complex interactions, they can also wisely guide the Organization (church, ministry, school, etc.) in developing and implementing plans to change the Organization.
The Use of Total Church Systems (TCS) As a Cybernetic Model For Analyzing a Church
Many of the biblical principles that are used in this model were first articulated by missionary leader Donald McGavran in Understanding Church Growth. Mel Schell expanded and reorganized these principles and published them as “Using Computers to Support Total Church Growth” in Church Growth, State of the Art, edited by Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Dr. Win Arn, and Dr. Elmer Towns.
The Use of Total Organizational Growth Systems (TOGS) As a Cybernetic Model For Analyzing All Other Organizations
These cybernetic principles apply to all dynamic organizations (organizations that have growth potential). When we apply these principles to organizations other than churches, we call this the “Total Organizational Growth System” (TOGS) model.
Our goal is to help all of God’s people fulfill the Great Commission as a clear command given with the authority of Almighty God to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! It is also a command given to every Christian church and para-church ministry.
The local church is the primary organization created by Jesus Christ to anchor the fulfilling of the Great Commission (Matthew 16:13-19). At the same time, God uses other ministries to establish and support the local church in carrying out the Great Commission. One cannot exist very long without the other. Both churches and para-church Christian ministries are equally necessary for complete fulfillment of the Great Commission. Therefore, we call all disciples of Jesus Christ the “Church.”
For example, the apostle Paul and his co-workers were not a local church. They were missionaries, called directly by Jesus Christ and directed by the Holy Spirit to go to the Gentile world and persuade lost people to become disciples of Jesus Christ. When they had won enough of them to create an organization, they helped form them into local assemblies or churches. They also stayed in fellowship and communication with other apostles and local churches to make sure that they agreed on the essential doctrines. They also supported one another with information, personnel, and resources.
Understanding the Four Major Areas of Ministry in Total Church Growth Systems
GMI is unique in that it helps the Church understand and implement four major ministry activities that are necessary for continued numerical and spiritual growth. Two of these four activities are External Ministries focused on persons outside of the local church. The other two activities are Internal Ministries focused on persons who are already constituents of a local church.
Conversion Growth: These activities are focused on unsaved persons who are not active members of a local Christian church. These activities must have clearly defined goals to win the lost to Christ and assimilate them effectively into a local church where these persons can form relationships that ultimately lead to their growth as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Transfer Growth: These activities are focused on saved persons who are NOT active members of a local church. All saved persons are members of the Body of Christ and as such need to be in fellowship with other believers who are part of the Body of Christ. Just as a hand is of little value unless it is attached to a living body, so individual Christians who are not part of a larger Body of Believers lose their meaning as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Optimal Growth: These activities are focused on saved members of a local church who need to grow into spiritually mature persons who love and worship God and are using their spiritual gifts and resources to love their neighbors and help fulfill the Great Commission.
Renewal Growth: These activities are primarily focused on unsaved members or constituents of a local church who need to fully understand the gospel and trust Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. This includes the children of members of the local church. These Renewal Growth activities are secondarily focused on saved members of a local church who have become inactive for various reasons.
In order for these four ministries to be effective and efficient they must be conducted through groups whereby persons form meaningful relationships with others who are part of the local church. Therefore, we also focus much of our consulting on how the various groups within a local church affect the total ministry of the church.
Consulting Options Available Through the GMI Referral Program
Depending on your requirements, location, and budget, you may benefit from consultation supplied by one of our affiliated ministries. All of our affiliated consultants have been personally approved by our GMI Executive Team. This Team has more than 60 years of experience in leading and consulting with churches, ministries, schools, and businesses. Rev. Mel Schell, the CEO of GMI, is a nationally-known consultant who has worked with hundreds of churches, ministries, schools, businesses, ministers, and leaders all over the USA and Puerto Rico.
How We Conduct Our Consulting Ministries
We are available to do an initial evaluation over the phone. We do not charge for this initial evaluation. Once we determine what your requirements are, we will offer several different programs options based on your unique needs.
- A single-visit analysis: One of our GMI consultants will come to your organization and do a one-day analysis designed to give the leaders of your organization an overview of the major opportunities available to improve your growth and development.
- A Motivational-training Event: We also offer various training events designed to inform and inspire your members to accomplish their God-given mission.
- An Organizational Growth Questionnaire: This is an excellent analytical tool that can be used by itself to assist the leaders of a local church to better understand their own congregations. You can administer the Questionnaire and we will analyze the results of this questionnaire. Then, our consultants can help you identify areas of opportunity, problems and results, and give specific feedback to you and your organization.
How GMI Is Financially Supported
GMI is supported by donations from concerned individuals and organizations that understand the need for our ministry. We also depend on the churches and organizations who utilize our services to pay reasonable fees for the consulting services or products they receive. In some cases these fees are based on the ability of the organization to pay. In other cases, the fees or costs are fixed. Click here for more about our financial support.