: online status :

« St Brendan by Brian Whelan seen at Greenbelt 09 | Main | Pilgrimwear »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

yeh - that's interesting because that is one of my concerns.
I have already found myself saying to people 'I am not your pastor' as I am here to create ... pastoring must be the responsibility of someone else.

During training at SEITE I said this and got laughed at. I was told I was making excuses and avoiding the issue. It's good to hear you saying the same sort of stuff - I was starting to think maybe I needed to start to think about changing my ideas with the thought process being something like ... after all I have connected with with this group of people and we are starting to gather regularly ... some of them need a pastor and so maybe I should think about this. I keep thinking but I keep coming up with the answer that that is still not me!

Your last comment is a worry for me already - I think I have already come to the thinking that if they try to squeeze me into a pastor mode then I will have to resist - however costly that resistance will end up being!

thanks for your thoughts Mark cos they ahve helped today in making me feel less of a misfit than usual .... but still a misfit and quite proud of it! :-)

Hi Mark, I feel your pain! I think that this is really only answered by what some call the 'missionary' imperative, in other words always looking for someone to take on your role, constantly trying to give someone else your job basically. In missionary terms its looking for indigenous leaders. It goes against the prevailing culture in church circles, where a 'minister' is a job for life, a pioneer like you or perhaps even me, ought to be able to pioneer, without the need to settle into a position of management. The problem is that pioneers are hard to fund, and so there is a school of thought which says 'fund the pioneering stage externally, until the pioneer can become the manager and fund themself.' That too is problematic.
Bless you mate, I hope things pick up for you.

I'm with Simon on this that perhaps part of pioneering is to find those to do the work of continuing in one piece of pioneering work so that you can then begin more new work of a pioneering nature in the same region.

On a personal level I'd ask you when you last went on retreat and what your spiritual director says about it? If it's hard to answer those I know the traditional models might not be quite your style but having someone exploring your spiritual journey and your ministerial journey with you is invaluable, whatever form that may take.

I hear your pain. :-( For myself, I've had odd wonderings of late about the whole 'pastor' thing, period! What I mean is, why do we inevitably need someone else to take on the role of caring for us all? Why isn't that a shared responsibility of the group, perhaps with a lead role (but NOT the only role) played by those whom God has given gifts of pastoral care. Instead we seem to fall into the expectation that a 'professional' is required to do it for the group. I'm becoming more persuaded by the idea that the only 'professionals' we should be paying are midwives of the new thing, or those working in marginalized groups which will never have the (emotional, spiritual) resources to support themselves.

100% agree Linz... That's part (one part of several) why I believe ordination is in need of a complete overhaul/reimagining and whilst I welcome the idea of Puoneer Ministers I don't think the thinking is radical enough... it's been focussed on curriculum not the deeper questions about ordination itself... George Herbert is alive and well! :( it seems we cannot move beyond his understanding of the lifelong, proffesional, one man ministry which I believe to be unhealthy for the individual, for the parish, for the Church and for culture.

I think that we should all swap jobs for a month, get stuck into someone else's fresh expression. This would give is the constant challenge that we need and awesome feed back for both our own projects and the ones we have visited. It would also make sure that the projects that are running do not become ours !!! which is an inherent danger, that we think because we are the only ones doing "whatever", that we begin to think we are the experts !

Mark it would be really good if you could start a discussion on this on the Fresh Expressions Facebook page. It's a vital issue and needs lots of thought.

Happy to post a link and start the discussion Norman :)

Hi Mark - a bit late to the party on this discussion, but I'm being drawn into the Pioneer placement issue here and share your concerns.

I'm not sure we are setting out to make Pioneers pastors, but I don't detect we are being 'smart' enough around understanding the gift / personality of the pionner being selected. It seems to me we have 2 ends of continuum:
- at one end, someone who is a total entrepenuer - a start up person who's gifts lie in that and building local leadership and then moving on to the next new church to be birthed.
- at the other end we have the gardener time person who sees their calling and growing and staying for as long as it takes - still building other leaders around them, but in the for long haul.
I think we need to look at where we are placing pioneers and ensuring the local churches have some longer term vision and strategy (not least because of funding implications) and trying to match this to the gifts & personality.

Sorry to hear you are down - look after yourself.

thoughtful and appreciate your honesty. i have added some thoughts on my blog, having done pioneering and pastoring for a while.



Very helpful Steve thanks

Angela Jenner posted the following on the Facebook discussion, which captures some of my current thinking...

When things reach a stage which seems more settled and the sense of call to that place remains, I wonder. I would imagine there is a possibility of a strong undercurrent of dis-ease.

Is this a point where a pioneer may need to throw the leadership balls into waiting (even if reluctant) hands in order to move back towards the liminal place where vision is more acute, and prophetic action more possible. Remembering that it is at the edge of the known, where risks are high, that organic organisms grow most prolifically.

I think your observation is spot on. Some are gifted for initiating and some are gifted for sustaining. I do think that the initiators are in the spotlight at present. Pioneering appears to be the more romantic role at present (although having done both I know that the shine gets knocked off that apple pretty quickly when you are the pioneer.)

I suspect we know which we really are by how much it feels that we are swimming upstream when we are doing it.

The most effective organisations are the ones where the workers know - and stay within - their areas of core ability... God designe dthe church to be a body where eyes don't try to be feet.

Perhaps it is the responsibility of the pioneer (if they want to remain a pioneer) to remember to build a team around them so that as soon as the pioneering is done there is a team of managers already working on the sustaining and growing. By my own argument it should really be the elders/overseers/some other role that (within THEIR core skills) releases a team around the pioneer - or sends out with the pioneer in the first place... but in the unfortunate reality of most situations I guess the pioneers will have to do this or risk being forced into areas that are not their core - and god given abilities...

great post Mark, cheers.
can totally relate.
which is why, after three years at feig in Gloucester, I left.
not in a heartless way - it was just that the community needed me to get out of the way so that they could mature. and I, like you, needed a new challenge.
Whilst there, I was definitely a pastor as well as a pioneer - but there are other pastors in the community too...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons ©