Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Limited Ministry of the Ordained

Chris at "Even the Devils Believe" has a good quote by Gene Robinson about ministry.

Here's the part that struck me:

I think in some sense becoming a priest actually limits your ministry. What I mean is that the real ministry is to the world, but as a priest and as a bishop, you limit yourself to be minister to the ministers.

I think this is what we see a lot in practice: Priest feeling that their job is to minister to the people in the pews. But unless we see this perspective, that the priest have this limited task, and that the proper ministry is to the world, the Church tends to become turned in on itself.

3 comments:

Aaron G said...

so true! the "clerical paradigm" has been the downfall of the Church's mission in the world.

D.W. Congdon said...

I think Bonhoeffer had the right idea. In one of his letters he says that all pastors should have "secular" jobs, and that all the money given to a church should be given to the poor and those in need. The church, from top to bottom, should be externally oriented.

Weekend Fisher said...

This is one of my pet peeves with my current church. They are so inward-focused, and then -- pardon, my annoyance is going to show through -- they elevate the trained clergy so highly that every else imagines they are not qualified to reach out. And they wonder why attendance is only growing very marginally and the community at large hardly knows we exist ...