The Pastor’s Role
I must say that I learned a lot from this class both through the readings and through class discussion. I really, honestly do not have anything that I starkly disagreed with in either. I found it all to be very valuable information for me and this class was extremely helpful in assisting me to better understand the current paradigm shift the church is going through. There are three take-a-ways in particular that helped me to better understand the post modern shift in the church and my role as a minister in this changing paradigm. The first take-a-way is the understanding that there is a shift occurring towards focusing more on the congregational life of the church with more attention on the laity and its formation. Second, is how to plan, as a church and as pastors, to adjust to this shift towards congregational life and how to be better prepared as a postmodern church to be relevant in this changing time. Lastly, I received a better way of explaining the meaning of what truth is in this post modern time.
I agree with Kitchens, Mead, and Roxburgh who all basically say in their own way that one change in ministry that we need to focus on more is the congregational life of the church. However, I think Mead explains it best when he says that the future church must be more intentional in the spiritual formation of its laity (Mead, location 919). According to Mead, the church is moving towards becoming a more missional institution that cares for the needs of the community. Therefore, oftentimes laity will be the ones on the front lines and will need the capacity to minister to people on their own without the help of clergy. In order to do this they will need more directed and intensive training to deal with real life events than what was accepted in the Christendom churches (Mead, location 970).
The day when people were born into the faith and were pre-conditioned as Christians are quickly fading away. These days people come to us whether we are clergy or laity with no prior knowledge of a faith tradition. Therefore, according to Mead our Christian education programs need to concentrate on the basics and assume less (Mead, location 1002). So one way of reinventing the church is to develop “mission training” as Mead calls it where we help our laity to be prepared to be on the front lines of mission better equipped to empower others to know Christ (Mead, location 1002). I completely agree with Mead. I think that after being a disciplined disciple of Christ, one of the most important parts of being a pastor is equipping the laity. I think that parishioners have a desire to know God and are hungry to understand the word of God. I believe most Christians want to grow deeper in faith and want to be able to apply the word of God to their own lives as well as help others to do the same. Therefore, we as pastors and ministers need to do everything we can to help nurture their desire because I think this is the well spring out...