Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Do churches need ministers? Not as much as they think

From Christian Today-

Just how important is the minister? Professionals who've trained for two or three years at a college and probably done a bit of an apprenticeship too might not particularly like to hear it said, 'Not very much.'

That's not quite what Andy Griffiths is saying in his Grove booklet, Refusing to be Indispensable: Vacating the centre of church life. But there's certainly an element there of Anglican vicars ministering in such a way that they do themselves out of a job.

Griffiths is co-ordinator of curate training in Chelmsford diocese and a continuing ministerial development adviser. And, as he points out, what's now desirable is shortly to become inevitable. Up to half of Anglican incumbents – vicars or rectors in charge of congregations – will retire during the next 10 years, leaving around 5,000 compared with 23,235 in 1901. How should incumbents relate to their congregations in such a way that they help them minister to themselves and to their local communities?

He has five metaphors for ministry, speaking of the incumbent as the 'vanishing priest' who points to God without herself being present, as apostolic team member, team builder, doorkeeper and 'planet' – that is, one who orbits around the Sun of Righteousness rather than herself being the congregation's centre of gravity. That's a thought borrowed from Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, and there is a refreshingly broad range of reference in this little book.

More here-

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