Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Minister As Missionary 1

Back in May I gave the Baptist Ministers' Fellowship annual lecture at the Baptist Assembly in Plymouth.  This month a version of the talk was published in the Baptist Minsters' Journal.  With the kind permission of the editorial board I will be reproducing the BMJ article here.  To keep things down to regular post length I'm going to stick it up in a series of bite size chunks.  I may add further posts to the series so that I can expand on some of the ideas beyond the word limit that was possible in the article.  We'll see if I run out of energy.  

I'd love to hear what you think of the proposals.

The talk and the article explored what it means to think of the minister as a missionary.  My concern was to address the majority of (Baptist) ministers who will devote their lives to serving regular congregations rather than those whose calling takes them into more pioneering ministries such as church planting.  Much has been written about the need for such cutting edge ministries in Britain today.  I agree wholeheartedly.  However, if the church as a whole is to evolve into new missional forms and mentalities it is important that we consider what this might mean for those caring for and reaching out from mainstream congregations, those who for the foreseeable future will continue to comprise the majority of ministers.

The approach that I take is to offer a number of models for how we might envisage the role of the missionary minister.  I relate these models to some of the challenges of mission in post-Christian Britain.  More of that later though.  The first post proper (which will follow soon) is an extended introduction where I explore the idea that mission is best understood not as an activity or a set of activities but as a particular orientation.

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