Duane gave me this article called Methodist Disconnection a while back and I just came across it while cleaning. Took a break to read it and felt compelled to share it.
It’s an article by a pastor in South Africa on how Coca-Cola’s efforts to turn themselves around could help the Methodists.
Whenever someone says, ‘I don’t go to church, I visit my friends, walk on the mountain, swim in the sea, run, play with my kids, walk my dogs, cook, go to the horse races, play soccer, etc’. we should prick up our ears. Gardens, fishing and dinner parties have always been associated with the presence of God. Jesus did some of his best work in those contexts.
Author goes on to point out our fixation needs to move from the church building to business, yoga, sport, fishing, coffee shops, cooking, wine appreciation, etc. These are the things that define the spiritual vocabulary of our surroundings now. Why, the personal interests which Methodist Ministers so seldom get around to on exhausted days off from ecclesiastical chess might just be the varied liturgy of future Methodist Mission.
It is ironic, then, that the training of Methodist ministers places so much emphasis on shaping them to fit into the way the church is because of how it always was. They are, before we try to make them like the rest of us, our most precious resource for accessing the way the world outside is, for they bridge an increasingly tired ministry and a rapidly changing world.
They have the passion without the baggage. (I would argue we have our own kind of baggage, just different)
The qualities that make each probationer minister unique, their hobbies, interests and special skills as a person not as a minister, Methodist, nor Christian, should be identified and coached into their unique ministry.
Refreshing words as I’m a month from graduating seminary and entering my first appointment. I hope I can help the local church look outside itself for new life, energy and opportunity.