Thursday, January 19, 2006

Reflections on teaching

Reflections from teaching the after-pastor course.
(Note: I taught an after-pastor intensive, 2 day, course for after-pastor ministry to clergy. For further details, request a copy of the report by going to the comments link below.)
Teaching the intensive course was interactive. That says a great deal about my preferred style as well as my learning mode. The result is that I learn as much, if not more, than the students.
What I gleaned from the course is that lay people in local churches need to be engaged in understanding the dynamics of after-pastor churches in the same way clergy need to know what to expect. This is most necessary when the misconduct was recent, but churches can benefit from a course such as this if the misconduct was many years ago, or not fully known. The key is finding the will to want to be healed (such as in the case of the crippled man by the pool in John 5). If the local church knows that they are chewing up pastor after pastor and the turn around of clergy is frequent, then they must realize at some point, the church is unhealthy. It is only when the leadership of the church wants to get better, heal and find wholeness that any significant change can occur.
Another insight I received was that some clergy have served a succession of wounded churches. When denominational leaders review their “track record” it appears they are ineffective. This may not be the case! These are frustrating churches to serve and are usually not very fruitful in their ministry. Too many really good pastors are gone from the ministry, and in some cases from the church. This is tragic. A competent pastor serving a wounded church may not do very well attempting to build up the membership roles. Who wants to remain in an unhealthy church?
Often I feel like a voice, crying in the wilderness and I wonder if any one hears what I am saying. Wounded churches are involved in a self-defeating downward spiral; damaging the Gospel they represent and destroying capable, caring pastors who are offering themselves for the sake of this same Gospel. Healing needs to come to these churches and people before the kingdom can be advanced.

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