Friday, March 18, 2005

Patience and community in ministry

Kyle Childress draws on the writings of Wendell Berry to discuss the values of ministry over the long haul.
We live in what Berry calls the culture of “the one-night stand,” and clergy are often little different. I’m among the first to say that God sometimes calls us to move to another congregation and that sometimes, by circumstances beyond our control (economic pressures or denominational policies), we have to move. Many of us will admit that occasionally we move because we’re climbing the denominational success ladder. But faithful staying and committing in the world of “one-night stands” is a witness to the gospel of “the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Besides all that, good ministry takes awhile.
Part of that long-term ministry is visiting members and encouraging development of not only a congregation, but a community.
The kingdom of God is not brought in with bulldozers. It cannot be imposed and still be the kingdom of God. The means God uses to bring about his reign must fit with the purpose of God’s reign of justice, peace, harmony and reconciled relationship with God, with humanity and with all of creation. It cannot be coerced with bulldozers, tanks or guns or with prayers ordered by the state, laws passed by Congress or manipulations engineered by Madison Avenue. God calls us to do the work of ministry that fits with the Prince of Peace, the Suffering Servant, Jesus.


Blogger John said...

Milton, This was a long read but I persevered and was all the richer for it, bless Kyle, what a brilliant article!

A few of his points cleared some things up for me in my pastorate, most of them had puzzled me for a long time.

In my previous churches I spent an average of 2 years, this one almost 10 years... now I know why!

5:18 PM, March 18, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Yes, it's a long article, but helpful. Glad to hear you've stayed 10 years at your current work! Thanks for stopping by. Peace.

5:46 PM, March 18, 2005  

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