Looking for a place to feel inspired and challenged? Like to share a smile or a laugh? Interested in becoming more familiar with Canadian writers who have a Christian worldview?
We are writers who live in different parts of Canada, see life from a variety of perspectives, and write in a number of genres.
We share the goal of wanting to entertain and inspire you to be all you can be with God's help.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
DOING MINISTRY DIFFERENTLY - Eleanor Shepherd
After five years of active
retirement, during which I pursued part time and full time employment in a
variety of non-profit organizations, I decided to return to my first love,
pastoral ministry.On Sunday, I again stood before the congregation to lead in worship.However, I have learned a few things over the
years and I will no longer be doing pastoral ministry the way that I did when
we started out over thirty years ago. The world in which I will be ministering
has changed significantly and so have I.
What obvious change am I making? I decided rather than stand behind the pulpit
to proclaim the Word of the Lord, I am choosing to sit on a stool at the front
of the congregation and chat to them as if they were in my living room. The content of my message may not be changed
significantly. I will present to them
the things I discover as I delve into the Bible to try to understand its
meaning for our lives. I will make
suggestions and recommendations based my understanding of the Bible. I believe these can help those who are
present to try to learn to live out their faith in a practical way from day to
day. I will speak of my own experiences
and those of others who have inspired me.
This seems like an appropriate approach in an era where people do not
want to be talked to but rather to enter into dialogue. If what I am presenting is true, and I
believe that it is, they will be able to recognize that and apply it to their
own lives as they are seeking anchors for challenging circumstances.
Another change I have opted for is
to create an opportunity for interaction from the congregation at the
conclusion of my sermon. When I listen
to the radio every morning, as I am preparing for the day, I have noted that
after item that is presented, the announcer requested response from the
listeners and suggests the various ways available for that. Listeners are requested to tweet, email, go
to the Facebook page, or call a number and leave their response to the subject
matter. Interaction is encouraged. To adapt to the way things are being done, is
actually Biblical. One great example of
this is the Apostle Paul, who went to where people were gathering to have
philosophical discussions, which were a favourite pastime of his day. There he presented the Gospel so others could
consider and respond to what he said.
Attempting to attune myself to what
is happening today, I have decided to invite interaction to my messages. I invite people to raise questions or give
comments related to the material that I have presented. On occasions that I have done this so far,
the results have been quite positive.
One unintended benefit that I see
from this is a possible greater level of communication within the
congregation. As someone raises a
question or concern, it is possible that there is someone else present who has
been thinking along the same lines.
During the coffee time, after the service the two of them may get
together and take the conversation further, enabling them to converse about
faith issues at a deeper level and build community.
Another change that I want to
implement as I undertake these pastoral responsibilities, is to try to minister
from my strengths. The more time that I
spend in doing the things that I am able to do well, the greater will be the
contribution that I can make. However,
of course I must not neglect those things that must be done for the effective
operating of the congregation, for which I am not particularly gifted. What I hope to do is to be able to encourage
the concept of shared leadership with the congregation, so that others who are
gifted in areas where I am not will be able to assist me in these areas. This way we can be more efficient and each
free to offer to the congregation those things that we do well.
I am aware that a rare opportunity
is mine. I am able to have a second
chance to do at sixty what I tried to do at thirty. However, I now have thirty years of living
and learning, making good choices and bad ones and learning to some degree how
to discern between the significant and the important. I am not sure what all the consequences of
these changes will be but I am excited to find out.