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Oct 05, 2005


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Rodger Sellers

OK: I'm in full agreement that we've got a terribly distorted view of who's "in" or "out" in terms of calling, ministry, etc. One that I also agree is in dire need of... reform? correction? re-imagination? (How's THAT terms for a buzzword among Presbyterians?)

But how do we get there from here? Without blowing the whole smash up? How to overcome the inherent entropy that's inevitable with those who will (justifiably so)see the whole idea as a personal / professional threat?

It's not so much that I'm opposed to lending my shoulder to the effort, but it's a REALLY large rock to push here Sisyphus.

will spotts


I have believed this for a long time, though I have never been able to put it into words.

I suspect if you want to change that perception the best approach is to convince church members and pastors. I highly doubt any instituional change will occur unless people were to be persuaded of its necessity in very large numbers. But then, how does one do that?

Michael Kruse

Rodger, I just raise the problems. You are suppose to fix them. **grin**

I am getting to some of this in my posts. Personally, my oversimplified version is this.

1. Let us get a grip on what is driving our dysfunction and what reinforces the dysfunction.

2. By-pass the hierarchy and stir up a passion among our people for seeing and dong biblical ministry. We not only have to teach a new paradigm but constantly unteach them on old paradigm.

3. Speak truth to the ecclesiastical powers about their participation in, and perpetuation of, destructive structures.

4. Look eleswhere in the world and in history for models where "every believer a minister" is working, and equip each other.

I think this is a Wilberforce size struggle that only comes with long dogged effort. Of the above, I suspect that 2 may be the key. There is an axiom that says "When the followers lead, the leaders will follow."

This is all to theoretical for most folks. Until people can see, touch, taste, and feel disicples living their lives as ministers it is just so many words. If I were a pastor I think I would preach about it a lot but I would focus my efforts on a handful of promising believers who could be equipped and encouraged to disciple others.

I am curious to read what others think over the next few posts. I would also be interested to know what resources you (especially pastors) think would be helpful in reform. But first I have more "ranting" to do. **grin**

Neil Craigan

I think the real issue is paradigm change. We have a lot of people who want to change structures and methodologies but it's still the same ship. Developing new paradigms (actually I think it might be reclaiming old paradigms) and reinforcing new 'plausability structures' to gain buy-in will be critical for the future of the church. You also mention the flip side, we have got to unteach the old paradigm.
This is no easy task as there is little agreement on what the new paradigm looks like and the institution really likes the old paradigm and tries to convince us that new methods equate to paradigm shifts when they aren't.
Keep writing


I am really enjoying what you are writing about. It's given me much to think about.

I still see a tendency in describing leadership roles to preserve a role for a singular leader. If the existence of that role is what perpetuates the clergy/laity mindset, then I wonder if in attempting to preserve this role we don't allow for the full extent of transformation that is necessary.

Michael Kruse

Grace, I share some of your concern. Partly because of the temptation of us have to wield power destructively when we have access to it. I also think of the people of Israel who demanded a king rather than depending only on God. There is a temptation for some of us to usurp power and for many others of us to abdicate authority. The New Testament Church retained the idea of elders but not priests. Within the Presbyterian tradition we have taught that the pastor is a specialized elder. Leadership is shared by the elders.

I have more on this in coming posts but I think the real issue may the mission for which we are giving leadership rather than the issue of leadership itself.

Thanks for you observations. They are helpful for me in thinking about future posts.

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