Monday, January 14, 2008

Stick to It?

Here’s something interesting in Transformational Ministry. Quoting Eugene Peterson, Michael Jinkins emhasises that, once one has been ordained to Christian ministry, “we want your vow that you will stick to it” (Jinkins M 2002:32). He adds: “I want to reiterate what he [Peterson] is saying ... our responsibility is to keep on keeping on -- and on -- and on.” The back cover states that Jinkins has been in ministry. The Preface states that he now has “the privilege of teaching in a seminary”. QUESTION: Did I miss something?


Anonymous said...

Do you think he has to be in ministry (pastoral position) to actually be in ministry? If he is teaching, that is his ministry, plus I'm sure he does more 'ministry' type things on the side.

Thomas Scarborough said...

What first caught my eye in this, I think, was a feature that is common to Christian transformational ministry -- namely an extraordinary emphasis on staying the course against great odds. In Michael Jinkins’ words: “Lash us to the [ministry] mast” (Jinkins 2002:32). Similarly, Bill Hybels writes: “The single most pressing issue [is] enduring” (Hybels 2002:231). Leighton Ford asks: “Is there enough strength to stand then?” (Ford 1991:131). Myles Munroe considers that one needs to “overcome incredible odds” (Munroe 2005:209). Oswald Sanders suggests the prayer: “God harden me against myself” (Sanders 1994:53). Together with this, on the surface of it, there would seem to be a link between transformational ministry and the high dropout rate in the Global North (something I am investigating in my present thesis). The impression I received, in Jinkins’ Transformational Ministry, was that Jinkins, in spite of his best intentions, was not able to “stick to it” -- and this highlighted the tension which I have just sketched above. I agree that Jinkins may minister with great effectiveness, within the will of God, without having a pastoral position as his primary emphasis. In a sense, this was less about Jinkins than it was about illustrating an apparent problem with the leadership model, which seems to manifest abnormal strain.