There was recently published an amazing piece by Anna North on Vox called, “The death of the job,” in which there is the following key quote for ministry leadership:
Meanwhile, for many Americans, work isn’t just something they do — it’s part of who they are. The idea that “you don’t get something for nothing” — that we must work to earn the necessities of life — dates back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century…
Discipleship as a job
Historically, it’s true – the Reformation(s) had a lot to say about work. But, I have (ironically) found that churches actually ignore work.
For example, I have heard sermons about climate change and the environment. But, I have yet to hear, “if you work for the oil, automotive, or other such industries, you better quit or advocate for renewable energy.” (Have you?)
What I have seen from churches, instead, is an emphasis on one’s discipleship (via church affiliation) being the central means of defining oneself, not work.
Thus, what the Church has offered is a position (ie. committees), authority (ie. certification), community (ie. communion), and even agency (ie. social justice). The cost is, of course, a financial obligation of 10% of your income. But, more importantly, the Church has asked for one’s devotion – to give and work in Church, almost as a self-contained society.
In other words, the Church has been offering people a job.
The Church as an industry
Sometimes, this (in aggregate) has been called a, “congregation.” Other times, it is “citizenship in the kin-dom.” And, of course, the popular one is, “beloved community.”
But, whatever we call it, the time has now come (if it is not long overdue) for us to wonder if the Church should continue to offer that at all, given that it does not seem to bring about the world that it says that it wants.
[END OF PART ONE]
Because this is such an important concept, it is being published in parts so that it can catch and keep your attention. It is laying the theological and sociological foundation for, ultimately, the basic shift for local church ministry in this new era: from congregation to platform.
So, the next part gets sent out tomorrow (Tuesday) at the same time.
Until then, be safe and stay committed to digital, diversity, and dreams!
James from PASTORIA
Head of Guidance