Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Minister As Missionary 6

Conclusion - ministerial by calling

This reorientation, this reimagining of what it means to be a minister is both important and urgent.  However, it is not without dangers.  One such danger is that of missionally-motivated ministerial sheep-beating.   I detect an emerging and distressing phenomenon, angry missionary-ministers, ministers whose anger is kindled by their congregation’s failure to get with the missionary programme.  These are ministers who feel held back by their congregations.  It is as if their people are getting in the way of their own missionary-ministry.  And it makes them mad.  I sympathise.  I think I understand.  But I am also alarmed.

God did not call us to into ministry that we might become our congregation’s accuser. That position is already taken.  Yes, learning to see ourselves as missionary-ministers matters a lot.  But as we start to realise that aim it is also vital that we don’t forget that we are also missionary-ministers,  servants of our people, people who are themselves called to serve the world that the world in turn might learn to serve God.

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 a slightly modified version of 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.

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