Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Intentional Renewal: Focus 2

(2) Redefine the responsibilities of clergy

In last week's preview, I talked briefly about how the reality is that many clergy have to spend the majority of their time in the administrative role (or also if they don't spend a majority of their time it will end up hurting the church or making the job for the next clergy harder). This is not necessarily because the clergy want to spend their time there, but because the system of the church as it currently is has come to depend on it.

Here is what you need to do (1) Find a Book of Discipline, (2) Look up and read paragraph 340. (I would link to it so you didn't have to go through all of this, but see my post below as to why it must be this way)

To sum it up the responsibilities elders are called to are: Word and ecclesial acts; Sacraments; Order; Service.

Now I would like to sum up the new responsibilities under the same categories:

Word and ecclesial acts
1. Teach the Word of God; empower others to teach the Word of God; and be a resource for worship planning implementation.
2. Oversee the network to ensure that Biblical interpretation is within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy (we can debate what is orthodoxy some other time). (I.e. Make sure the Bible is not being interpreted in a way that goes counter to the message of Christ)
3. Preside and Weddings and Funerals as needed (including marriage counseling when needed)
4. Counsel when needed (and keep confidential what should be kept confidential)

1. Teach the Methodist understanding of the Sacraments (Holy Communion and Baptism) and other means of grace
2. Administer the Sacraments (this is where I struggle the most because if there are say 50 units within a network how is an elder supposed to administer Holy Communion on a regular basis---this might take some adaptation that others might not be too enthused about---possibly even myself)

1. Maintain regular contact with those units within the network and connect the units together by regular all-network communication and/or events
2. Be a resource for materials of Christian education, worship, and mission
3. Maintain the connection of the network to the larger organizational structure of the UMC
4. Maintain observance of The Book of Discipline within the network and each part of the network

1. Model the servanthood of Jesus Christ by participating in work that helps the community the network is within
2. Help to connect the network in service to the community
3. Teach the importance of servant leadership to all and model it in personal daily life.

I am not much for detail, but these would be the main requirements. Is there something that should be here? Is there something that shouldn't be here? Please leave a comment and let me know.

I purposely did not add 500 things (exaggeration) like the Book of Discipline because I believe each network would have its own context that might influence and determine much of the other stuff.

To summarize biblically: I would envision an elder/clergy being much like Paul in the NT traveling to churches, establishing churches, and maintaining contact, but obviously on a more regular basis because of ease of travel/communication.

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