This month I want to spend a bit of time sharing my thoughts to the church. As a young(ish) clergy person I have some ideas after observing the state of the church over the last 10 years. Frankly, to be honest, if I wasn’t clergy, I’m not sure I’d be going to church.
So over the next few weeks I’m going to explore 6 thoughts, or suggestions, I have for the church. This isn’t targeting any one particular denomination or congregation since many of us are struggling in similar ways.
This is my second of six reflections, if you missed the first, you can find it here.
Explore New Ministry Models
I don’t know about where you are, but in my denomination around this part of Canada, 80% of clergy will reach the normal age of retirement in the next 10 years!
That leaves folks like me who have close to 30 years left to go with quite a bit of area to cover. Yet denominations still hold onto the traditional idea of ministry where it’s supposed to be one minister per church as much as possible. I touched on this topic earlier in the year with this post but want to reconsider it again now.
In that post I challenged folks to take on new styles of ministry. And yes we need to do this. We need to think about gift based ministries and shared ministries over larger geographical areas. Such as a cluster of clergy serving a wider area from one geographical location.
There are things we need to consider with this, because it won’t work if we turned it on tomorrow. We need to build up our local churches to understand they are part of the ministry of the church, it’s not just the clergy. We can share this load. We can use the gifts in the local community to offset the gaps encountered when the clergy may not be in our communities each and every day.
There are many different styles of ministry that can work, but each community needs to explore these on their own. They need to discern and define the gifts they have on hand, develop these skills of pastoral care, prayer, worship leadership (not necessarily preaching) and use them to help meet the needs of their respective communities. This could look very different in neighbouring communities.
We are going to face a severe clergy shortage. There is not enough time right now to avoid it. So we must begin to prepare for new models of ministry today, but exploring the gifts we have as faith based churches serving our communities.
Up in part 3? Don’t be afraid!