Thursday, August 30, 2012

Service Idea - Pulpit and Ministry Supply Network

Please tell me if there is something like this out there - I'd love to not re-invent the wheel. But from what I can find, other than some denominational lists, there is no relief minister service in my area. I am thinking this might be helpful. Here is the idea, please weigh in.

The service would allow ministers and leaders to offer their services helping out other churches and ministries. It would begin with a collection of some confidential data regarding the relief ministers: such as their denominational affiliation, what services they would be comfortable offering, expected rates, etc. This will be collected through an emailed form (using a locked pdf or some other format). The information will be used to match minsters to opportunities. I am thinking that like other professional service relief organizations the cost model will not impose on the ministers and leaders.

The service possibilities that a church/ministry/individual could request would include (please feel free to suggest others):

  • pulpit supply
  • worship leader supply
  • seminars/workshops/training - speakers, planning, worship, etc. 
  • ministerial mentors - think of counselors for your ministry
  • weddings
  • mystery worshipper - someone who comes as a visitor but gives you a report after the service
  • sermon video taping - as I discovered many preaching jobs ask for video, we would be able to help with that
For each service there would be online forms which would include suggested rates. Rate negotiation would be handled by the network. This is where the cost model would be worked out. I would have churches submit the rate they usually pay a guest speaker (etc.) and match them up with someone who fits their needs and is happy to work at that rate. Having done a fair bit of guest speaking I know the stippends vary quite a bit. I am thinking that this will help churches in a pinch and also connect leaders to congregations in ways that can help them both grow. Win win. 

I'm thinking of starting in the Ottawa area, but I think something like this could easily grow beyond Ottawa. 

Thoughts?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

History

I'm wrestling with notions of history a lot these days. One of the complaints, and I think it is justified, against evangelical theologies are their ahistorical quality. Certainly where such theologies disdain pre-parousia life this is true. But one of the cautions evangelicals have about Liberation Theologies and even the Social Gospel is the way it fully situates God's activity within historical forces. Within a kingdom theology (Laddian) perspective, might it not be better to find a middle way? The activity of God belongs to God alone. However, God is not passive or waiting, but actively at work undoing the effect of sin. As we align ourselves with God, we begin to do what we see the Father doing, as Jesus modelled. And in doing so we participate with God's effective work in history. However, this work is not salvific but redemptive - where salvation is secured in the consummation when God will bring an end to human history but redemption is the preparation of all things for the return of God. Does this model maintain the sovereignty of God, the significance of human action without reducing God's activity to just a historical force? What I want to articulate is a God who, while outside of history, is active within history: a God who is both now and not yet.

Thoughts?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Week of Intense Reading

This next chapter will be the most dense of them all. Chapter one (which is in the bag now) outlines the development of evangelical attitudes towards social engagement as they emerged from the turn of the 20th century Fundamentalist movement. That chapter used the broadest range of source material and took over a year to write (much longer to research). Everything is from an eschatological perspective. I could have looked at it from lot of different perspectives, but a thesis is a narrow beast. And besides I am convinced that "[e]very Christian ethics is determined by a presupposed eschatology." (Moltmann, Ethics of Hope, 9) The big shift I track is from the dominance of amillennial and postmillennial Protestant evangelicalism to dispensational premillennialism as a support for a changing relationship with society. An over reaction to the realized eschatology of the Social Gospel movement.

My second chapter is an intense look at the eschatology in Carl F. H. Henry's The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. Henry, and others, are looking at different forms of premillennialism from the 19th century (Anglican sources) as a way of adjusting Fundamentalism from the inside. I buy his argument that the reaction against the Social Gospel, while justified, was too extreme.

This next chapter follows Moltmann's Ethics of Hope and attempts to outline the possibilities within his 'transformational eschatology'. I'm doing a slow, deliberate read of Ethics of Hope this week. It is so good. My reading list for the next couple weeks includes: Moltmann's Ethics of Hope (Tim Harvie); Sun of Righteousness, Arise!; and The Crucified God (reread). I have others, but those are the ones I'll spend the most time on. I'm already finding ways to putting this chapter together with lots of connections to what I've already done.

This has been the most productive summer.