Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ordained Pioneer Minister?

So tell me God, what's the difference between an ordained Pioneer Minister and an ordained minister and how am I supposed to know which sort I am - and who is supposed to decide.

Please, please don't tell me its up to the Church to decide, God. As you well know, the Church and I have not always seen eye to eye.

In fact, I'm not sure I am that comfortable being a part of the institutional Church anymore - it all seems so terribly business like, officious, managerial, and so frighteningly desperately empty of you.
Does that make me a pioneer?

All I know is that I feel out of place in a Connexional Church which seems to think that 'everything' will all be OK as long as it employs a team based on an individuals conformity to a fixed list of essentials and desirables, (none of which directly mentions any necessity to believe in you I'm sorry to say) and then orders its business and finances according to agreed priorities.
I really don't want a fresh expression of this...

I want MORE - I want people to discover the wonder, the transforming power of knowing YOU and of what they can be in YOU. I want a Church that isn't afraid to name you as God and which states that belief in you is central to its self-understanding not just one of its priorities.

Whatever happened to being raised up to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land and reforming the Church?
Whatever happened to wanting to be disciples, to growing in grace and holiness and trusting in you rather than managing the Church for you?

I don't believe that the British Methodist Church began to decline through lack of management, it has been declining through lack of confidence and faith in you.
Yes, yes, I know, harsh criticism.. but its OK, there's nobody to listen or take note - except you God - and you at least know that my anger is rooted in pain not scorn.

God this is such a deep grief to bear, this slow death of British Methodism.
It's like tending a parent with terminal cancer, or Alzheimer's. disease. I can't stop loving, but the illness makes it so hard to hold on to what is precious and win through.

Did you mean for this to happen, was this really a part of your plan or just a consequence of our determination to go our own way?
If it is your will for us to die so that we could be resurrected, then why does it feel like a lie when I try and persuade others to win through, to not lose heart, to keep faith with Wesley and the doctrines you gave us to hold and share? Worse, why do I feel so passionately that you have called me to try and hold those with the same longing for you within our Church?

Is it so wrong Lord, for me to long for them to have what others have had - a chance to see your young people, all your people, participate in a lively, vibrant church which is on fire with the Spirit, alive to the gospel and committed to working for your kingdom of grace?
Does this longing make me a pioneer?

All I know is that I believe it is essential to want to reach out to your people for positive reasons, because the Church does see the need and does feel called by you to respond to it, not simply because the Church is in decline or because I am so deeply unhappy with what we are not doing now.
Does this make me a pioneer?

I want, no I need, to believe that I am motivated by love of you and called by you to spread the good news of your gospel. I need to believe that what drives me is a love of your people, whoever they are, not my despair over the state of the Church...
but, oh God... have you seen the mess we are in...
Does seeing make me a pioneer? Or just the determination to reach out and win through...?

So tell me...what sort of minister am I really God?


  1. Just a sad one really.. keep the faith.

  2. Every attempt to find a new form of ministry seems to diminish 'the ministry'. Part of my call to be a minister was that whilst Methodist ministry in is no sense different from that of the whole body of Christ (i.e. all Christians exercise ministry), I am set aside - set free to be who I am in God's service - fulfulling certain specific functions on behalf of the church, but free to do this as I am, a pioneer, a poet, an evangelist, a carer, - whatever label I choose (poet's the one for me). Perhaps we should ask for a new form of ministry - 'The Pioneer Poet!