We started a discussion here about how we talk about the professions and ‘full time vocational ministry’. It seems that a great deal of the motivation behind the push for people to go into full time vocational ministry is that we are living in the last days. This is the age of proclamation, so that ought to be our priority.
My question is one of strategy. Read more
“Being a doctor is just delaying people’s deaths.”
Have you heard this line before? It’s an argument used to encourage people into full-time vocational ministry. The idea is that medicine isn’t worth doing because everyone eventually dies and ministry is more valuable because it lasts into eternity.
That sounds like a fine logical argument. But I don’t think it’s right. Read more
Earlier this week, Arthur and I had coffee and dessert with a couple who have been instrumental in our ministry formation. We were honored just by their willingness to catch up with us. Even more affirming was how the evening unfolded.
On paper, this couple are entirely superior to us. They have higher qualifications, far greater ministry experience, well respected pastoral insights, and superior church position and status. Just in the course of the conversation, I could identify several ways in which their ministry has shaped me. Yet, there was nothing about them that was condescending. Read more
In my world, anyway, it’s easier to give than to receive. Do other ministry people feel this way?
We spend so much of our lives extending the hand of friendship; proffering hospitality; sitting down listening to others; advocating on their behalf. And I don’t consider that an imposition – it’s a joy to be involved in others’ lives and a privilege that they allow me to do so! That’s not just platitudes, that’s how I genuinely feel! Read more
Wendy did a series on support networks for ministry wives recently. As I read it, I sensed that this was something missing for me. But at the same time, I feel like I don’t fall neatly in the ‘ministry wife’ category and my issues are different from women who do. Additionally, I feel like I have few models of older women in ministry to follow and wasn’t sure about peers to connect with. The thought of trying to start something was exhausting. But God provided. Last week, Lisa Brown worked out that I should be part of her Ridley young-women-in-ministry support network and invited me along. It was an energising and encouraging evening.
My set of ministry questions came out of my perception of Gen Y guys in the Australian church. Lots of Gen Y Christian guys want to ‘fix’ the church, and like to practise ‘DIY theology’. There is a certain desire to ‘go to Bible college’. There are bloggers, there are fanboys of American figureheads…
Lots of us young Christian men really think we know stuff. There is a deadly arrogance in my generation. Of course I’m hardly immune.
But this is part of a bigger issue for us Christians at large in Western society. We think we can personally ‘learn’ things in order to ‘choose’ a ministry career. However, in other neighbourhoods of world Christianity — the parts that are growing — new ministers are chosen by others because they’re already tangibly becoming fit for the task in their communities. Steve Addison’s blog documents this disconnect between our Western obsessions with information and systems, and the rhythm of flourishing Christian movements. Steve for example critiques the idea of ‘church planting assessment’.
There is also a disconnect between our self-assurance and the stark fact of the decline of Western Christianity. Would God give us humility!
I’m all for building the church. I’m all for the renewal of the West, even though I want other horizons. But there are some really hard questions we have to ask ourselves if we’re to entrust ourselves and our churches to God. If the next generation of Christian leaders is comprised of Gen Y know-it-alls, God help us.