Posted by: abbiewatters | June 17, 2011

Mulling…

On our Presbyterian Women Interest Group on Facebook we have been having several lively discussions. One Minister Member (soon to be Teaching Elder) said this.

I’m convinced that one of the bad habits church adopted from modernity is the professionalization of ministry.  To the extent we’ve professionalized mission/ministry, we’ve reduced members own sense of their vocation.  May we recognize and nurture the spiritual gifts of our sisters and brothers for the sake of G-d and our communities.

And I answered:

 After being in a small church for several years where the laity was expected to do whatever needed to be done, I’m now in a VERY large church (2800 members with 6 ordained staff and another 7 or 8 program staff not counting the secretarial and maintenance staff), I am amazed at how little the laity does.  We’re great followers but there are few lay “leaders”.  I’m not sure what the answer is – I wish I knew.

And then this morning in a totally different context, another Minister of Word and Sacrament posted this series of Tweets on Twitter:

As always, driving through this church community, I can see and feel potential for what this church could do

And I’m tempted to pour myself into that work. Then I remember it isn’t the pastors wok to do. The community has to want it.

It is a strange church to serve in many ways.

yeah, I tell you, so easy to dream dreams and vision visions. impossible to find session members. can’t do w/out the ppl

In my experience, even though the staff may feel overworked leading Bible studies and running committee meetings, they are reluctant to give up that control. All the Councils/Committees have a minister member assigned who is expected to attend. Bible studies are poorly attended unless a minister is leading it. Is this because the church members don’t think anyone can lead a Bible study unless s/he has been ordained? Or is it because the staff is afraid of potential heresy if the laity leads the study.

I want to scream – “Let me help.” “I want to do so much.” “I have gifts, too.”

 

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Responses

  1. I don’t think it’s potential heresy, but fear. It has become common to be afraid to take a risk, and afraid to let people take risks. You do something poorly and people laugh or worse… talk. “How could she screw up so bad?” “I would never do that if I didn’t know how.” And of course…”Why did they let him make a fool of himself? Didn’t they know better?”

    If you constantly give positive feedback, people are more likely to do, and learn to do right. When was the last time you told someone they did good? For no reason, just because….

    (Excuse me… I becoming the proof of my arguement so…)

    Thank you for writing about these issues! I am glad you did. I hope you will continue and if I can help you, please let me know. :-)


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