Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The impossibility of Excellence in Ministry these Days

Check out this link for a very interesting article from Internetmonk on the contemporary pastorate. (Thanks Chutney, for pointing it out!)

The author is an Evangelical Christian, but the first half of the article raises interesting general points about how ministry has changed in the past 50 years. The second half is much more specific to the Evangelical community but does make some interesting points about what he calls the pragmatic philosophy of Youth Ministry. Although it takes some major religious translation, I think that UU's were not immune from the downsides of this philosophy, which, crudely stated is, "if it brings kids and keeps kids it must be good." His objection is that it's not Biblical, our UU objection might be that it doesn't help kids on their spiritual journey and when they outgrow it, they depart from us, never to return. Of course, in our case, only between 10 and 30% of our kids even partake in our youth programing.

His claim is that Pragmatic Youth Programing has led to Pragmatic Adult Programing, and he's again' it all. An interesting point that's probably off the topic of ministry.


Steve Caldwell said...


I don't know if you've seen this article on the UU World web site:

'Charged-full living'
UUA-sponsored WellSprings Congregation takes a different approach to new church development.

The article describes the latest UUA-sponsored attempt to create something similar to the "seeker" churches described in the Internetmonk article.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting & a lot to think about through UU lenses. I like the phrase "a pastor's heart" ...what is at the heart of ministry? religious leadership?

On a side note, the following is an example of anti-Judaism. "It was always fun to be the outraged youth minister in a church run by Pharisees saying "no" to throwing pies in the sanctuary."
I hope more UUs avoid these types of anti-Judaism references. I've heard a lot of this lately and it wears me out!
Check out "Preaching Without Contempt: Overcoming Unintended Anti-Judaism" by Marilyn J. Salmon (Episcopal Priest & Professor) for all who want to both learn about this & preach it.