‘Ministry’ fascinates me.
Reading your thoughts on the ‘What are ministers for?‘ discussion leave me with a kind of split personality. I agree with almost everything written.
I think ministry is a calling and that there is no job like it but I also think that it has been moulded and shaped through training, rules and the selection process to be more limited that it perhaps should be in terms of style, focus and the kind of qualifications that bring people into ministry.
I spent my teenage years in a manse. Some of my best friends are ministers. I have huge respect for them and the work they do.
Almost every week someone asks me when I’m going to become a minister. I smile and say something like ‘I couldn’t take the pay cut’ when part of me wants to say “what do you think I spend my time doing?’ and the other part of me wonders if that is where I should be heading.
Ministry has become synonymous with ‘The Minister’. That was the thought that drove my two questions about ministers and congregations.
My answers to my own questions are that congregations are supposed to be ministers. And ministers are supposed to enable that ministry.
I guess my frustration comes from years of working with churches where this just doesn’t happen. Too many Congregations default and defer to the Minister and too many Ministers are quite happy with that. It’s a strange kind of stalemate that doesn’t really work for either party but is hard for them to get past.
I wonder if that is a view that is only mine or if it is prevalent enough to earn the tag ‘model’?
The other issue that drives the question is the one of deployment. As I said previously, how can we decide how to deploy ministers when we not to be quite sure what their role is and what they are expected to achieve? And what happens when they just aren’t up to scratch?
Most denominations spend over 90% of their central funding on ministers. Is that a good use of resources?