The ecosystem of congregations, judicatories and the institutions that prepare persons for ministry has been fraying across the denominational spectrum.
Borrowing from scripture and the U.S. Navy, I suggest a pastor’s role in today’s world should be like that of Jesus, who began his movement with the flexibility of a new type of vessel, a small crew and the vision of a new creation based on the pattern of heaven.
Traditional, established congregations that are more than 40 years old are in steady and persistent decline. Now is the time to speak the truth, reclaim our hope and launch a realistic and thoughtful plan for our future as God’s people.
Churches must be courageous and open to change. But sometimes, amid all the pulse-taking, evaluations, strategy planning and critiquing, we forget to love the church we have.
In American Christianity today, many pastors and other ministry leaders in the dominant culture are afraid of being prophetically pastoral. As a result, the Church and the Gospel suffer.
Seminaries should be religious science labs that help prepare leaders for the ever evolving work of the Holy Spirit in congregational life.
Christianity is not a game of chess. Following Jesus is risky business. What we need are knees worn out from prayer, hearts captivated by biblical authority and a will surrendered to God’s will, committed to go, do and say whatsoever God desires, no matter the outcome.
When the visionary rhetoric of a vibrant future collides with the realities of established precedents, facilities, job titles or traditional methods, the result is conflict. This is where many congregational visioning processes get derailed.
The words sting all these years later. They came earlier in Alan Rudnick’s pastorate when a congregant called to chastise him for not visiting another member in the hospital. “You’re not doing your job,” the caller said. “You’re not being…