Monday, 23 June 2008
I was part of a group the other day and one of our Minister’s used the terms ‘old world’ and ‘new world’ - in relation to the Ministry he’d been prepared for when ‘training’ and the nature of the Ministry we are being challenged to bring today. I’ve got so used to saying we are in the midst of a massive cultural shift and it’s not yet clear what it’ll look like the other end (if there is another end – ie continual change is here to stay); I think I haven’t been stressing sufficiently the fact we are already in a new world. Whilst I don’t think this new world is necessarily all there is, it may only be a shoreline of a small island, we are already in a very different world to the one people encountered when embarking on the great ministry adventure 25 years ago. The fact that we are living in Post-Christendom, however, becomes far less obvious the more you live in the great Church ghetto where reality-denial is the order of the day. However, there are some very positive signs of hope, One, I believe, is the fact I’m now encountering a far greater number of people among our Churches who are recognising the need for a cultural change within their own Church. I accept resistance to change as a given in any human grouping and so don’t think that instinctive negative reaction to any change is in any way a marker of openess. However, where people have enough time to absorb the motivating reasons for it (mission), I’m finding a far greater openness than when the motivating reasons were perceived to be ‘open to the Spirit’. We’re almost at the end of Imagine 3 and the penny seems to be beginning to drop with a growing number of leader in this process. It seems that where people are genuinely willing to look at some of the real issues together they are finding an openness to the Spirit and a way forward, even if it’s only one step on a journey for which they don’t the destination.