ministry formations week eight

Another week of biblical theology: my illusions of being completely across all the course content are shattered when we are called upon to apply the principles of biblical theology to this passage from Genesis 9. Ouch. We’re coming back to it again next week, having covered the (much easier) story of Naaman for the groups who didn’t want to explain Noah’s drunkenness.

The second hour kicks off with a student presentation: again, it’s only the one student presenting to the whole class, and I feel a slight pang of jealousy – shouldn’t I be the one standing up in front of everyone, saying things? The desire to show how well you can do something, for the sake of making yourself look good: this is one of the things I’m hoping college will teach me to outgrow. This week, at least, it sends me in the right direction. Other people can lead – this is a good thing.

This week’s class was in part about diary tips: how a pastor should plan their year to ensure that there’s enough time to recharge, and enough of a "margin for error" that a single unforseen event throws everything out. If you just hope for the best, then the urgent things will always win, but you’ll be a wreck by the end of the year.

I asked the question: what about elders (insert your own denomination’s word for people with ministry responsibilities who are not paid by the church) – when they already work five days a week, and have a tonne of meetings to go to, and also have a big sunday – how do they handle it when the minister takes two full days off each week? What does it look like to encourage them? Some ideas were thrown around – never to have unnecessary meetings; encourage people to be sensible with how much they’re involved in: even the idea of not running a particular ministry if you don’t have the spare people-power to do things.

In the third hour we looked at the idea of servant leadership – this seems to be a response to the idea of “minister as CEO”, which seems a bit of a contrast to the life of Jesus. It’s hard to see Jesus running a board meeting, but much easier to see him washing someone’s feet.

We also looked at what it might look like to help people who have been through big struggles in their lives – and it might not mean spending huge blocks of time with them: there’s a time and a place to refer people to counselling: a healthy reminder.

And this week marked a bit of a turning point for me; perhaps it was just getting some exercise in before college started, but I felt more positive about Christianity in general than I have in a while.

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