January 2015

What is Project Shine?
This initiative was developed to meet the challenges of church ministry today. It challenges old ways of “recruiting volunteers” and returns focus to the purpose of life in Christ: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (NIV®) 1 Peter 4:10

Yes, and what will this project actually do?
The fundamental purpose of Project Shine is to prepare people to understand their gifts and live out their calling in every area of their lives – church, community, family, workplace, etc. Preparing people includes some intentional steps:
• Assimilation
• Discovery
• Matching and Placement
• Equipping
• Celebration and Reflection
Each of these steps takes place on a firm Biblical foundation with Gospel motivation, and has an ongoing system of communication to support it.

Is this just another church program?
From Morning Star’s perspective, the Project Shine’s goal is Ephesians 4:12, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. Equipping people for service should be embraced as a value and a mindset that touches everything in the church, not one program. We are preparing God’s people for whole-life ministry – to be ministers in and outside of the church.

  • This is a significant shift from the more traditional clergy/called worker-centered model of ministry. “Although most churches preach the priesthood of all believers, a much smaller number have identified the process necessary to equip people for ministry. Many staff members have not been taught the steps they must take to make the transition from doing the ministry to equipping others to minister.” (The Equipping Church Guidebook, page 125)

The Project Shine team anticipates that the mindset and comprehensive system for equipping members will require education, experience, and prayerful consideration.

Aren’t we already doing this? People are serving in the church now.
This is meant to be done in a more intentional way than church ministry has been done in the past. This is a comprehensive way to connect all church ministry and service opportunities systematically, so that each member can be led to opportunities to discover and live their Christ-centered calling.

Is this really about getting more volunteers in the church?
Actually, just the opposite. Project Shine is not church-centered; it is person-centered. It recognizes that each individual has God-given gifts and opportunities to use them in the home, church and community. It supports a person’s efforts to discover, use, celebrate and reflect on those gifts. It continuously reminds the children of God of our Gospel motivation and points us in the direction of spiritual growth.

What if I am already serving the church in some way? What does this project mean to me?
Project Shine will offer opportunities for current members to examine where they are serving now and where they may want to grow in the future. It will include training elements to help our people, ministries and programs be more effective. It is designed to maintain a culture of abundance and optimism that flows from God’s rich grace, rather than a “have to” mentality toward the church and its “needs.”

Will new members or marginal members be overwhelmed by this project?
Our vision is to integrate simple steps into our current new member assimilation. As new members assimilate, they will see clear steps to becoming engaged at Morning Star, and, because membership is a two-way street, Morning Star may also learn how to support and celebrate its members as they live out their current callings.

How can we keep this project real and manageable?
We are building a step-by-step plan for each of the key elements of Project Shine (Biblical Foundations, Assimilation, Discovery, Matching and Placement, Equipping, Celebration and Reflection). Each plan has timelines, and we will merge the timelines in a way that is realistic and respectful of our current programs.

Is there precedence for this type of program?
The Project Shine team has been studying the concepts of “member ministry” and “equipping members,” and has adapted best practices to create the vision and key elements. We are being mentored by Trinity in Crete, Illinois, which has been using this approach to equipping its members for the past 3 years.

What are the desired outcomes if we do this well?
In short:
• Morning Star is a place where each member is valued and connected, growth is intentional, God-given gifts are discovered, and members are engaged.
• Morning Star members naturally reflect Christ, living lives according to the purpose God has prepared for me, “shining like stars” wherever we go, whatever we do, using whatever gifts God has granted.

During the exploration process for Project Shine, the team created the following vision and desired outcomes, which have guided our plans thus far:

Equipping Ministry Vision Statement
1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (NIV®) Equipping ministry intentionally guides disciples of Christ in spiritual growth by helping us discover and develop our God-given gifts and talents, empowering us for faithful and joyful ministry, and building up the body of Christ as we share his love in service to each other, our church, and our community.

Desired Outcomes of Equipping Ministry
By God’s grace and guidance, the goal of Equipping Ministry is to develop Christian disciples who . . .
1. Grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and what he has done for them, regularly receiving gospel encouragement which motivates them to serve God and people.
2. Discover their spiritual gifts, passions, and personal style, thereby understanding the unique way God has shaped them to serve.
3. Connect to ministries and service opportunities that fit their unique abilities, passions, and personality, or suggest and start new ones.
4. Seek help and support to deal with issues and challenges they face.
5. Receive training, feedback, mentoring and evaluation to ensure continued fulfillment, development and growth as Christ’s disciples, servants and leaders.
6. Accept congregational support, recognition and thanks for their service.
7. Reflect on current and future service.