Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Am I responsible for your faith?

In a counselling situation a counsellor would deny responsibility for the clients feelings.  I recently started wondering whether as a person with a public role I have a different responsibility?  This perhaps also touches on the expectations of clergy.  The Naked Pastor has recently resigned from ministry and has faced many assumptions about why he has done this.  He has suggested that he left because the church where he ministered was being adversely affected by his association with it.

Perhaps the equivalent situation is for a counsellor to stop seeing someone because although they are not responsible for the others feelings they recognise that they are having an adverse impact on them.  Perhaps if one has a prophetic ministry then one needs to exercise it where it does not harm others.

However, I can't accept that I always have to fit in with what is "acceptable" in my church.  In the CofE it isn't possible to agree with everyone, but perhaps a priest who is a long way away from their congregation is not in a position to minister to them, particularly in a place where there are several other churches within easy commuting distance.  And yet I want it not to be so - and think that I have ministered to those far away from me!  Is the corollary of this then that it is possible to minister better without pinning your own colours to the mast?  I don't like that answer either.  I suspect that this is one that I am going to return to.


  1. Mmmm.. too many thoughts on this really..

    For a start I think prophetic ministry is unusual - most of us don't have that gift in spades like the nakedpastor does, and hence however risky we feel we are we are a long way short of being accused of s**t stirring.

    Secondly I think if we are not authentic then it is time to quit

    Thirdly I think that there is a subsection of the church that is ruled by fear, and as an ex-Vineyard person I know that some of the Vineyard churches fall into this section. In it you dare not question, liberalism is of the devil and you all speak in a frenzied Christian-speak manner.

    Finally, I think the best churches are those that have a number of acceptable theologies and people are loved irrespective of their beliefs. Also I think the best pastors are those that lead people onwards in their own journey, they don't tear anyone else's beliefs down but trust that the HS is active

  2. I think I agree with Lesley! But... as one in ministry presumably you have(as in one has) a choice over which jobs you go for? I mean if you are particularly fond of the 'high church' approach I assume that you wouldn't chose to go for a job in a more HS led environment or vice versa? and presumably those who appoint would also see that you would be unsuited for said job? So.. surely this is a situation that 'shouldn't' arise to any great degree (I don't know the Naked Pastors situation). Yes of course as you say in the last para, you can't always agree or come into line with everyone - the world isn't like that, Christian or otherwise. Our worship leader says he draws people to a place and then steps back - to let them or the HS do the work. Perhaps a pastor/vicar/priests role should more like that?

    I do think that some ministers are a bit 'stuck in their ways' (particularly in the traditional CofE) and there is a bit of 'my way or the highway' approach but then often this can be backed up by PCC/elders/leadership team who further this role, so should it then be the fault/blame or otherwise of one man?

    It's defintely an interesting point!



Related Posts with Thumbnails