It’s the “Name That Ministry Area” Contest!

080530-spellingbee-hmed-757p_hmediumWhen I was teaching fifth and sixth graders in Sunday school I would tell them, “SO FEW people know the purpose of the church,” and then I would tick off those five letters on the five fingers of my right hand: “S.O.F.E.W: Service, Outreach, Fellowship, Education, and Worship.”  It was a way to help them remember the five essential ministries of every Christian church, and it worked, but while that acronym makes it easy to remember the purpose of the church, those five words might not be the most descriptive.  Education, for example, sounds like something you do only with your head while discipleship or apprenticeship could involve the whole person. 

So let’s have a “name that ministry area” contest!  I’ll list the five clear commands of Christ that inspire these ministries, and you try to come up with a good name for each one.  Ready?  Let’s begin:

  1. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mk. 12:30).  This is the area we sometimes call “worship.”  Can you come up with a better name?
  2. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31).  We sometimes call this “service.”  Other options?
  3. “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. 13:34).  This is the only command Jesus ever gave—to love one another.  Is “fellowship” the best word for this?
  4. “Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19).  We sometimes call this “outreach.”  Is there a more accessible word?
  5. “And teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:20).  “Education” seems reasonable, but doesn’t discipleship involve the heart and hands as well as the head?  What’s a better word?

Jot down a suggestion in each category and then click on the word “comments” below.  You can enter your suggestions in the following format:

  1. Loving
  2. Helping
  3. Caring
  4. Sharing
  5. Training

(Hmmm.  Those are not bad!  Maybe I’ll win the contest!)

Entries will be judged by the leadership staff at our regular meeting on Tuesday, March 31.  Winners will be announced no later than Easter Sunday, April 12.  So, get out that pencil and scratch pad and get busy.  We need your help!

20 thoughts on “It’s the “Name That Ministry Area” Contest!

  1. You are so funny. I began to jot down some words, and then read your suggestions and thought, “Perfect, where did he get those?” I think you do have a good chance of winning, even though I loved Janet’s too. The difference is that it is easier to remember a list where all the words end in “ing.” But CARES is a nice acronym. Hmmm.

  2. How about?

    1. God!
    2. Others!
    3. Us!
    4. Go!
    5. Educate!

    Short and sweet, except that instead of spelling something like CARES it spells GOUGE.


    Just kidding, OK? Just trying to get you creative types thinking!

  3. i don’t know about the names.
    i have been thinking about SOFEW for the last couple of weeks.
    it is a good mnemonic to help remember the five key elements of the church’s mission and our church’s mission statement
    is the order important?
    i think of worship, education and fellowship as providing the motivation, knowledge and energy for service and outreach
    As our mission statement says
    “FBC exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ through joyful worship, caring fellowship, spiritual nurture, faithful service and compassionate outreach in the Richmond area and throughout the world.”
    i also do not like education maybe nurture?

    P.S. Maybe we should change FBC to Richmond’s First Baptist Church in the mission statement?

  4. Jim – My neurotransmitters have needed a “jump start” so this contest has been just what I needed! Not sure I can come up with any more creative scenarios – my brain hurts.

  5. My “flight was delayed” so I have more time for contest entries. Jim – are you sure you don’t want to put a cap on entries? :o)

    LOVE –

    1. Love
    2. Offer
    3. Voice
    4. Extend
    5. Study

    EASTR –

    1. Exalt
    2. Assist
    3. Socialize
    4. Touch
    5. Review

    PSALM –

    1. Praise
    2. Support
    3. Associate
    4. Lend
    5. Minister

    NOTE: “ing” can be added to the above verbs

    (I will be “boarding my plane” soon, so that’s all for now . . .)

  6. I don’t think you can come up with any better than S.O.F.E.W.

    S.O.F.E.W. is so easy to remember – for all ages – and very descriptive of our mission.

    All of the others above are great though.

  7. We think that your use of “sofew” is easy to remember, but it has a limiting sound to it, so in our first suggestion below, we are offering the word “every” which has a much more inclusive and far-reaching sound to it. So here are our two suggestions:
    1. EVERY:
    Evangelism – by reaching out and spreading God’s word through word and deed

    Veneration – by loving and worshiping God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength

    Enlightenment – by learning and carrying the light of God’s word into the world

    Remembering – by sharing God’s love for us and giving fellowship and love to one another, we remember Jesus’s one command to us and His sacrifice for us

    Yearning – by loving our neighbors as ourselves and humbly serving as Jesus served, to be members of the body of Christ, so that by our examples, every person yearns to be a member of the body of Christ

    2. SHARE:
    Service to our “communities”

    Honor God through worship

    Acceptance of potential disciples

    Relationships with fellow Christians and others

    Enlightenment through continuing our own education and providing for others through all stages of spiritual lives

  8. What does it take to have a healthy church?

    Vitamins for Spiritual and Church Health:
    Vitamin A – Adoration (of God)
    Vitamin B – Benevolence; Blessing others
    Vitamin C – Communion/community
    Vitamin D – Discipleship
    Vitamin E – Edification

  9. I like “the 5 -ings” best, but I’ll give an acronym a try.

    Inviting (4)
    Ministering (2)
    Following (5)
    Belonging (3)
    Celebrating (1)

  10. I like the specific nature of SOFEW, there’s no nebulous mystery to what we’re about in this Kingdom work. I think John H’s does a good thing by adding so much openness to SOFEW, b/c it will take openness on everyone’s part. The vitamin idea is a good supplement to enhance what is already good about SOFEW.

    We’re praying for you and the leadership staff as you work through this.

    What you may want after the contest is a focus group of a cross-section of the church to brainstorm organizational details that they see changing, giving people a chance to share their thoughts and vision on how this will “morph” us into a new way of relating without abandoning totally the methods viewed as working well.

  11. From one of my homebound friends at Guardian Place, M. C.


    Remembrance (Lord’s Supper)

    The World is the Lord’s !

  12. Name of a Men’s Ministry for all ages.
    M.E.N. Menture Educate Nurture

    Ecclesiastes 12:13 (AMP)
    All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.

    God has put a natural order relationships and responsibilities. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and man.

    Men are to (M) Mentor (E) Educate and (N) Nurture

    If men want submit to his calling [duty] … He is not ready to be a man!

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