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Speaking to a group of 50 pastors and staff members in a workshop at the 2021 GARBC Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois, Knute Larson shared a model of ministry that he has implemented in the churches he has pastored. He currently teaches this program to congregations across the country as well.

He presented what he calls the soccer field model, which has four sides:

  • Resources—budget, finances, building expansion, and property
  • Foundations—statement of faith, constitution, and restoration
  • Goals—culture, “product”
  • Guidelines—purpose, values, and overall policies

The pastor and staff oversee the “playing field,” which includes all ministries of the church.

The board (elders/deacons) is responsible for setting and guarding the boundaries. Then pastor and staff are responsible to “play,” or serve, on the field, within the boundaries, and with as many volunteers as possible.

The church’s constitution should clearly define the responsibilities of the congregation or membership. In the soccer field model those responsibilities are to (1) approve any changes to the constitution, (2) call the senior pastor, (3) call the elders/deacons (board members), (4) approve any sale or purchase of property or buildings, and (5) approve budgets or audit reports.

Knute expressed the negative side of electing members for positions within the church, emphasizing, rather, that positions within the church should be given away (appointed, not elected) with titles and clear job responsibilities. The church staff would be responsible for writing these job descriptions.

With humor and insight Knute shared from experience how this model works in churches from 100 to 1,000. He shared with those in attendance that any change within the church should be implemented slowly and incrementally. For further information on this model, visit