Saturday, May 3, 2008

Being Missional

I often wish Chapel Hill put more emphasis on being "missional", which to me means joining the "God of the Oppressed", in working for the redemption of this world by ministering to the poor, the friendless, and the needy. I personally am less concerned about witnessing to people in order to save their souls, and more concerned about loving "the least of these", and helping those in need. As a side benefit people WILL come to know Christ when they see our love in action.

One problem I face as a staff member of Chapel Hill is where to draw the line between actions taken as a staff member, and actions taken as a member of the body of Christ.

I did not grow up as a Methodist, and am in some ways I am still not one at heart. I strongly believe that there is no Ontological difference between the so called "clergy" and "laity" (terms which aren't even biblical as far as I know). I really believe in the "priesthood of all believers" something the UMC claims to believe but, in my opinion, denies by their actions in only letting certain people teach in Church, or give communion, or baptise, or even marry people.

Because of this belief I sometimes struggle with wondering what my role should be as a paid staff person at a Church, since I am not even sure I think churches should have paid clergy, let alone staff. The best answer I have found is that our role should be "to equip the people of God to do the work of the ministry." If this is true, as I believe it is, then the staff and ministers need to be very careful not to takeover doing the work of the ministry for the people of God. Hence my dilemma, in not knowing where to draw the line between doing ministry and empowering ministry.

Being on staff brings with it a fair bit of power, and the temptation would be to use that power to move the Church and the people in a direction I want them to go, instead of trusting God to move the Church and the people in the direction He wants them to go.

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