Thursday, September 29, 2005

More info on transformation

OK, I just came from the Jill Hudson seminar that I mentioned in yesterday's post. She did give us a bit of an overview of the postmodern milieu in which we'll be doing ministry, but then she took us through the rest of the book -- 12 characteristics for evaluation of ministry in the postmodern context. The way this worked was that she would explain 4 of the characteristics, we would break into small groups and discuss, return for a few Q&A, and then start on the next set of characteristics.

At the end of the event, I invited all the ministers there to continue our conversation on my weblog (so, I'm hoping that by this time tomorrow, there'll be a feast of comments and insights as we process this together -- and I'm hoping that my colleagues will come back to this site over the coming week or so to continue the conversation)

So, for today, a quick recap of the 12 characteristics that Jill Hudson believes we should use in evaluating ministry:

The 12 characteristics for evaluation of ministry
1) the ability to maintain personal, professional and spiritual balance
2) the ability to guide a transformational faith experience
3) the ability to motivate and develop a congregation to be a ‘mission outpost’ (help churches reclaim their role in reaching new believers)
4) the ability to develop and communicate a vision
5) the ability to interpret and lead change
6) the ability to promote and lead spiritual formation for church members
7) the ability to provide leadership for high-quality relevant worship experiences
9) the ability to identify, develop, and support lay leaders
9) the ability to build, inspire, and lead a ‘team’ of both staff and volunteers
10) the ability to manage conflict
11) the ability to navigate successfully the world of technology
12) the ability to be a lifelong leanrer.

During one of the small group discussions, I asked Jill where the Holy Spirit played into this whole mix. I shared her book with one of our elders and we both thought that it was heavy on technique and light upon crying out "Abba, Father!" -- after all the Spirit is a wind that blows where It wills. The Spirit is a consuming fire. The Spirit cries out with groans too deep for words to express when we cannot find the words to pray. The Spirit leads us into all truth. I know that we presbyterians don't do Spirit talk all that well, but ought we not cry out for the Holy Spirit to make transformation happen. Without the Holy Spirit, is there truly any transformation -- re-engineering perhaps, but transformation?

Hudson agreed right away -- and she reminded me that the book was not a book about transformation but about evaluation. Then she reminded me that if the pastor is not being spiritually transformed -- if the Holy Spirit is not operating in the pastor's life, then transformation won't be happening in the church. This is a truth that stretches back all the way through pastoral literature -- the pastor has to have a vibrant living spiritual life. That's not to say the Spirit can't work without the pastor -- but rather to say that God loves to honor faithfulness in spiritual life.

Then, viewed from that lens -- all these habits cannot be done without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit -- indeed, we cant even build up the courage to try without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. That's the wonderful thing about Reformed theology -- it reminds us that our own incapacity ought to drive us to our knees in prayer.

OK -- colleagues and postmodern types -- your thoughts??? (the point is to generate conversation after all -- unbenknownst to me, Presbyweb picked up yesterday's post -- and only 2 people of the 60 visits I had seen made comments -- Part of why I do this is to hear your voice too -- it's part of the blogging genre -- so don't feel ashamed to disagree, agree, or tell a dumb joke -- comment away)

Soli Deo Gloria