One of the un-nerving aspects to the whole missional conversation is that of individual engagement. I say un-nerving because that’s how it often seems to the key leader of a Church. What’s often heard is something like – ‘they’re now asking me to do something else extra, on top of what the too much I’m already doing’, Not surprisingly, many back off at this point. Personally, I don’t think people back off because they’re against the whole ethos of what it means to become a ‘missional Church’. What, I suspect, goes on is: because most are too busy with sorting through the queue formed from other people’s expectations, the great ideas simply get lost.
However, somehow we need to return to some of the essential issues: If I’m a pastoral leader my congregation will benefit more from who I am than what I do. If the ministry of the church is to grow and develop, it will happen more through the multiplication of ministry than my own. If the Church is to genuinely touch new people with the love of Christ, it will happen more through others than me (one person). These are my conclusions, but I would suggest whatever our conclusions might be
- about the role of the individual key leader (whatever they’re called, even if you don’t like the ‘L’ word);
- about the overall ministry of any Church;
- about the engagement of the Church in the mission of God;
I don’t think we can escape the challenges they present.
One of the key things were trying to nurture with leadership via ‘Imagine’ is the work smarter not harder message and, whilst it appears a hard one to apply in church life, the alternatives lead us to much harder places. As a Regional Minister, I’m saying we need to find means of missional engagementbecause, otherwise, we’re not living the life of discipleship and this has to be a bigger issue. If we end up saying there’s no time because I’m the Pastor of a local Church, or a Regional Minister, then it’s an indication of a serious faultline somewhere in our practice. It’s blog not an essay so I’d best stop – I need to go and visit someone!