Part 1: Agency, Power and Responsibility

Part 2: Degrees of responsibility

Part 3: Power, responsibility and Christian ministry

Appendix: the cultural blindspot of theologically justified ministry practices and preferences

  • A particular sticking point for cultural adjustment and ministry effectiveness is rigorously thought-through ministry practices.
  • Traditionalists, whether ‘high’ or ‘low’ church often have very rigorous theological or ethical reasons for their various practices and traditions, that make them unwilling to adjust or change for the sake of adjusting to a new cultural context or for some practical purpose.
  • Examples might include:
    • No musical accompaniment, only organ, simple acoustic music, full band (and how loud the full band is!)
    • Wearing suit and tie to church meeting, wearing smart casual, wearing shorts and thongs.
    • Sombre ‘reverant’ demeanour, casual but ‘discerning’ demeanour, effervescent and raising hands while singing.
    • Preacher in pulpit in clothes that convey seriousness of the role, slightly polished preacher in casual clothes on a stage, self-effacing preacher on the flat level with the congregation interacting with the congregation.
  • This is clear to us when we are analysing ‘old traditions’, but the same thing can happen with new patterns of ministry practice that we have arrived at through theological reflection… but which are not themselves necessarily biblical.
  • In this process is that we can ‘baptise’ our culture or personal preference.
  • These things can every serve as important ‘boundary markers’ that define those with whom we agree,
  • We can also ‘curse’ those from different cultures for whom certain practices don’t have the same connotations as our theological practice traditions say they have.
  • We need to hold our extrapolations and inferences from Scripture more loosely than Scripture itself.

 

Mikey Lynch is one of the directors of Geneva Push and regularly sharing his thoughts here on this Christian Reflections blog.

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