Skip to main content

passion without baggage

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.


Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…