The power of sodalic structures

Vocabulary lesson of the day:

  • Sodalic: reaching out to start new ministries and churches
  • Modalic: strengthening the ministries and churches that already exist

Ministry lesson of the day: You need both.

When we look at the way the early church functioned, we see both modalic ministry (the strengthening of the churches) and sodalic ministry (missionary journeys to reach new people). These two endeavors worked side-by-side, without one controlling the other. The missions were independent, yet part of the churches at the same time. They were “alongside” ministries.

We see that “alongside” approach in John Wesley’s Methodism, in St. Patrick’s missionary bands, and in Humberto Del Arca’s church multiplication movement in rural Honduras. The way to fuel a movement is through an apostolic sodalic ministry… a ministry that happens alongside established churches but is not controlled by the established churches.

If the established churches control sodalic ministry, they demand that the leaders spend more time on them, which leads to more inward-focus, which leads eventually to decline. A measure of independence is needed to remain outward-focused and growing. If you want to recapture the apostolic mission, you need to raise up people who can stay focused on that.