Monday, August 02, 2010

Points of Excellence

At the start of a new phase of the seminary year - and in a sense of my ministry as a Christian - I have been asking questions about my goals and plans. The probability is that I won't be at the little Zulu community of Brentwood next year. I have about four months left there. What should I do? How can I make a positive difference - over and above what I have been doing?
I asked myself which five areas of church life really needed to be excellent. That's an interesting question. What must exist, what must be adequate and what should be excellent?
Unfortunately, it is also not a helpful question in the context. Off the top of my head I chose financial management, worship and preaching, mission focus, small groups and every member ministry as key areas of church life. Not one of those - from my western perspective - is even adequate at Brentwood. Ok, preaching and worship will do. But otherwise . . .
So I want to turn my back on it because the problems seem too big. There's not enough that I can do. And that is the malaise in a large part of the Methodist Church. Ministers and leaders are just overwhelmed and so ministers give up and wait for their time to move on to the next church, where they hope they will be able to make a difference.
Something needs to change. We need to be more open to God's power, even to believing in ourselves. To take risks, to change. I am thinking more about 'black' churches, but it affects English-speaking churches too.
Need to think.

4 comments:

Thomas Scarborough said...

You seem to be capable of some good thinking off the top of your head. It depends what you mean by small groups. In the African urban setting, I find that these may not (be able to) work.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Why not? You are right because small groups in the African setting does seem to be problematic, whether rural or urban. I'd like to hear your reasoning.

Thomas Scarborough said...

Small Group advocates tend to have “background assumptions”: people have the space and the furniture, access to homes is not restricted, the environment is reasonably safe, there is transport, members have regular(ish) work schedules, and so on. All of the above may present significant problems in an urban setting. Some present Small Groups as if they were the be all and end all of the Church. This is not to say, though, that they may be very appropriate in certain settings.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Ok, I see what you mean. Those problems also exist across the whole range of income groups - irregular schedules may be due to shift work (lower income) or to the demands of business which require working late often (higher income).
Thanks