Thursday, May 31, 2007

Full Time Christian Leadership?

I came across this on the The Signs of Emergence blog.
  1. I'm a very strong believer in the 'ministry of all believers' model. Some would claim it to be idealistic in a modern world of busy professionals. I think precisely the opposite. Why? Because...
  2. Full-time paid leaders very much risk creating a situation where the busy congregation with their 'real' jobs out there say "Hey, we pay you, so we expect you to lead us in return"... In other words, we too easily abdicate our spiritual journeys to someone else.
  3. So what is required? Firstly, I strongly believe many full-time leaders ought to step down to part-time. This will ease the huge resourcing pressures people feel to pay them. And secondly,
  4. 'Followers' need to step up and stop being so passive.
  5. I think Jesus' critique of the Temple system left us with a radical model where 'we all have access to God' and where no Christian needs another to mediate God to them. That's the curtain you can hear ripping.
  6. But, ironically, I think it's Paul's letters where we have drawn most of our model, and in Paul we have a 'Pharisee of Pharisees' who would naturally have found it very difficult to shake off that style of leadership. I don't think he ever quite did, and we've been left worrying over the interpretation of his various hangovers ever since.
There are some observations here. Too much of our model of "church" is based on a distortion of what the church is supposed to be. Will it be an easy transition? No. I'm personally making that transistion from "full-time" paid ministry to something where I earn most of my wage from something other than the "church." I better stop there, before I start to rant.


Wayne Shih said...


I enjoy your blog. I'm in a similar situation as you in going from "full-time paid" to earning a wage elsewhere. So I agree that we need to take another look at how we do leadership. But I can't let point #6 in that quote from the Emergence blog go unquestioned. Doesn't it seem to discount Paul's radical turning from his old life to Christ-centeredness?


mike said...

I think you are right. #6 is a little out of sync with the others.

Dan Morehead said...

I understand the impulse to utilize everyone's gifts, but don't think the answer is part-time ministry. I think it would be more helpful to educate the congregation that it can take 25 hours to write a good sermon and think through the Sunday liturgy. This requires time, wisdom and sustained attention. A congregation needs to understand that they have to utilize their gifts because the pastor's time isn't spent 'running the show', but putting time into things which require time.