Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Church out of clergy: Report to Synod says “It’s crunch time …”

The Journey, the Queensland Uniting Church Newspaper, in October 2002, led on the front page with the following headline

“Church: just out of clergy: Report to Synod says “It’s crunch time …”

The Future of Ministry Task Group brought what was described as a “shock finding” that between 60-80% of ministers would retire in the next 15 years.

“It’s crunch time for the church, said Rob Adsett, who chaired the Task Group. “We need to start recruiting young men and women to the ministry and provide flexible and alternative pathways for training them.”

That was some 10 years ago. Last year I walked into the foyer at Uniting College. Four candidates were sitting there. One was training with a focus on overseas mission. Another was Sudanese, with a heart for mission and people. Another was training as a deacon, with a desire to plant a fresh expression. Yet another was also training as a deacon, with a heart for workplace and everyday spirituality.

Each had a shared God, to serve Christ. Each sensed that would be expressed in unique ways.

Each was waiting to be part of a Formation Panel, a group of 4-6 from within the church who would talk with them about their call, help them design a unique pathway.

Flexible. Yes.

Alternative. Definitely.

The four would be followed by 21 others during the day. Currently the College is training more candidates than there are placements. It is tempting to “cap” numbers but instead we are trusting that God is up to something, that the mission of God might just be running ahead of what the church currently requires.

It’s exciting, scarey and risky. It seems a long way from the crisis of 10 years ago.

(Hattip Andrew Dutney for pointing out the article)

Posted by steve at 07:03 PM

1 Comment

  1. Glad to hear that’s the story in SA…not sure how the rest of us are going?

    Comment by peter — July 4, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

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