Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Holding in tension

When I was training for ministry and subsequently at various National and local gatherings aimed to equip and refresh, there was a perception abroad that, if one wasn't involved in ministry in a Priority Area, then one wasn't involved in real ministry. I and other colleagues went home to our middle class or affluent parishes feeling guilty and discouraged.
Now I appreciate that that was a perception rather than any agreed agenda driven by the institution but I have reflected on this with others and was not alone in that perception.
My fear for the church (one of my fears) is that, today, Emerging Ministry is becoming the new stick with which to beat an army of conscientious, community involved parish ministers - ministers who are effectively providing the ordinances of religion in their parish and doing that well, responding to the needs and desires of their community and without which many of our communities would be bereft.
While I am very creative in devising worship and in providing opportunities for people to come together in community to explore discipleship, none of the things I do can be considered "Emerging".
I am anxious that traditional ministries, where they are still working and, indeed, being sought, are not undervalued.
The Church of Scotland does not seem to do "mixed economy" terribly well so that we can affirm and support each other in the mission that is God's.
My hope and prayer is that the Emerging Church in all its different hues will embrace all varieties of ministry that engages with community.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Crimson Rambler said...

oh boy! very,very well put; and by no means a strictly local anomaly.

Jared Hay said...

Hi Liz, as a former convener of EMTG I share the tension you feel. I think that the key thing you mention in relation to both expressions of mission is 'doing them well.' There was a strong sense from the more traditional way of doing things of 'why are we spending good money on this stuff - it's rubbish,' because some of it was not as good as it could be. On the other side there was, 'why are we spending money on this stuff - it's only perpetuating an outdated culture that is not touching the present generation,' which also has some truth in it. Where there are people of insight, they will appreciate it when people are doing things well, touching the lives of those beyond the church with the love of God. I fear that in these more straightened times the tension will only increase for a while at least. All power to your elbow.

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