Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"How Deep the Well" by Dan Dick

My friend and colleague, Dan Dick, has one of the best blogs in the "Methoblogosphere." Last week he posted a well researched and important article about how many UM clergy are pulled in so many directions that they become convinced they don't have time to practice the means of grace, such as daily prayer, Bible reading, and worship. You can read the post here: How Deep the Well

I've become a regular reader of Dan's blog. Check it our for yourself here: United Methodeviations


Blogger PamBG said...

Posting from a PDA so a bit awkward.

Speaking as a new minister of 3 years at the age of 51 who has been fairly successful at carving out time for daily personal prayer...

What makes me sad about the article is that it would be so easy to blame the individual minister as simply not being cut out for the job. What helps a lot more is the advice and support of experienced ministers simply affirming that the unreasonable expectations are, in fact, unreasonable.

In middle age, my life experience has convinced me that prayer, study, and leisure really ARE more important than trying to please all of the people all of the time. But sometimes I still have a hard time getting it in perspective. I can't imagine how much more difficult it must be for a younger person.

In ministry, I miss the teamwork I had for 25 years in business.

5:31 PM

Blogger Steven Manskar said...

You are absolutely right, Pam. In the comment I left on Dan's blog I talked about how lethal the church is to the personal and spiritual life of pastors. A big part of the problem is, I believe, the "professionalization" of ministry. In other words, we've convinced the laity that the only people "qualified" to do the work of ministry are the seminary trained, ordained and appointed clergy. Therefore, they become the "hired help" responsible for doing the work of ministry. Too often denominational officials feed into that mindset. This makes for a lethal combination for ministers who may also be co-dependent or need to be needed.

A possible solution to this problem is a return to our Wesleyan roots that equipped and empowered lay persons for pastoral ministry. They could become partners in ministry with the clergy and liberate the clergy to live out their call to word, sacrament and order.

7:14 PM

Blogger PamBG said...

I'm looking at this from a denomination with a different history. Our history includes - as I'm sure you know - a significant anti-clerical sentiment that still lives today. A circuit system that (theoretically) relies on local church officers for everyday leadership and decision-making and a reliance on lay preachers to fill the pulpits on Sunday (in my circuit, 11 pulpits and 3 ministers). Let's not even mention 21st century vestiges of the class system that were never surgically removed but simply died away due to lack of interest.

And, despite all of that, the 'professionalism' of the clergy exists. Possibly not to the degree that it does in the US, I don't know. But it exists.

There is part of me that agrees with you and part of me that thinks that reinstating the class system is not necessarily going to be all that easy. Particularly when we UK still have the vestiges of it and every church has one or two such groups that have existed since the year dot and many people have voted with their feet that they don't want to belong to them. Every British congregation I know is always trying to get more people to join a house group.

On the other hand, I belong to a group - via the Roman Catholic Christian Life Communities - that does pretty much what the old class system did. Even occasionally gather for corporate worship. And it's a phenemenonal group, but it consists of people who make a great deal of effort to be there.

There is part of me that thinks we really need a totally radical rethink. I like the idea a friend of mine had - that Methodism should become a religious community.

4:41 PM


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