I have served the Church as a Priest for 37 years, having served four congregations, two non-profits, and as canon for congregational development in the Diocese of Texas. This blog is a place for me to share my thoughts and reflections on issues before the wider church. Much of my perspective comes as a long time teacher and consultant and as a member of the initial 2020 Taskforce of the Episcopal Church.
I would like to invite those who care for and love the Church to respond and engage me in conversation.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
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In the last The Living Church, you defended the people responsible for growing the church at twice the population increase. Did any of these people write about their experiences?
I have recently finished Gordon McDonald's "Who Stole My Church" and while it is a bit chatty for me, the lessons were such that I could apply them to my parish as we work our way through your "5 Keys".
I would appreciate it if you could point me to these people. Thank you and God bless you.
Excellent question. I am not familiar with McDonald's book. What I can tell you is that "their" number is legend. Let me point to two very different people. C. Avery Mason, Bishop of Dallas, led this diocese through monumental growth. While autocratic often in his approach, he aggressively started new congregations. The second is John Hines, Bishop of Texas, while known now for his progressive social positions, he added over 40 congregations, two major schools and a seminary to the Diocese during his time as coadjutor and Diocesan. Neither left writings on their "techniques" but rather - as I would recommend - were committed to their vision of the Church. They and other exceptional leaders, whose leadership was formed through the fires of the depression and WWII, build up the whole church under their charge. Our problem today is (1) lack of vision and (2) lack of leadership. The two are, IMHO, directly related. If you want a parish priest example, I would point to Donald Henning of St. Michael's and All Angels here in Dallas.
Welcome to blogging. I'll be interested in reading your blog and listening to your voice.
I would disagree with your assessment of what we lack - vision and leadership. I believe that we have too many people interested in their own vision and leadership. I believe our biggest problem that we have a sever lack of discipleship in TECUSA. We have too many people who want to lead us with their vision, but too few who want to share God's vision.
Well, this could be a bit of semantics. Try this: it depends on what you mean by vision. I would say that we have many conflicting agendas and little common vision. Furthermore, we have never had too many leaders. We have plenty of opinionated people, but leaders are hard to come by. However, I do agree with your critical point, namely, that there is a difference between "our" vision and God's vision or even a "Godly Vision." The fact that TEC has too many members and not enough disciples is sadly true. We might have more disciples if we had more leaders with a vision to make them. This was, of course, the central theme of the Gospel reading on Trinity Sunday. Thanks for you comments.
I agree, Dean Kevin. There are too many agendas and too few leaders.
I will never forget what the preacher at Bishop Stanton's ordination said (not a direct quote, but close enough): "We hear a lot about the need for leadership in today's church. We don't need to be concerned with leadership - leave that to the Holy Spirit. What we need to be concerned with is discipleship."
I believe that we have to few who put themselves as leaders who are not first disciples. If we had more leaders who were disciples first, men or women of God's vision second, and leaders third, we would have more disciples in our churches today.
Welcome to blogging! You will probably find it maddening for a bit, hee hee. :-) Blogger isn't always the most user-friendly thing.
My own, probably hyperopinionated, blog is here on blogger, http://kingdomofheavencome.blogspot.com/
I added you as a link.
If you ever need help with the interface, drop me a note and I'll be happy to help.
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