Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The International Coalition of Workplace Ministries in the USA has posted an article by Eric Swanson, which proposes ten paradigm shifts for the Church (see http://www.icwm.net/articles_view.asp?articleid=1395&columned). An interesting observation (paradigm shift no. 3) is that, if churchgoers are not given the opportunity to minister, they drop off in time. I think this is true. But there’s an interesting twist. Swanson writes: “In the typical church, lay people are asked to serve in five or six capacities: Teach a Sunday School class / Work in the nursery / Lead a home Bible study or small group / Sing in the choir / Be an usher or greeter / Serve on a board or committee.” These “five or six capacities” go unquestioned by Swanson, except that he notes an important need to add “ministering to ... the needs of a community”. This is good -- yet why such a short list of “five or six capacities”? There would seem to be a big gap here. There’s a multiplicity of things that churchgoers can do besides: leading the prayers, giving spiritual messages, welcoming guest speakers, preaching the sermon, and so on. We ourselves do this within a fairly “traditional” context. Not to speak of what people can do in groups. QUESTION: Why is it that Swanson’s list is as short as “five or six capacities”? Why, apparently, does he not see so many more?
Despite months of neglect, I have noticed that Leadership South continues to pop up from time to time among the South African Top 30 Religion blogs. Perhaps it deserves to be revived -- although it is unlikely to receive diligent attention. It also deserves to be less obscure. Given the time, I might rework some of the older posts to be more intelligible.