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.
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