Thursday, June 08, 2006

The World is Flat - Pt 3

So why does this "flattening of the world" stuff excite me? Is it because I love technology and progress or change and such? Is it because globalism stands to make me lots of money? Maybe it's a fascination with the Internet and its potential? Wrong on all three. I guess I need to explain a few things first before any of my thoughts on the Flattening of the World make sense. I will start with my blog header. I am a pastor at heart. I started to realize in college that one of the things that came naturally to me was to draw people around me and watch after their well-being. I was always a letter-writer then, now a phone-caller. Being connected to people and letting them know they are thought of and cared for helped me to see that a future in vocational ministry was a worthy direction. So off I went. I entered into what some would call a para-church ministry (which is a completely different blog direction, but I won't go there.) Serving students on a university campus, while attempting to attend and serve with a local congregation. Soon into this, I started to realize something, that it was difficult for me to find a place to serve in this gifting in the local church as we know it. There were plenty of ways to volunteer my time, like parking cars or helping in the toddlers class, but the shepherding and leading of people seemed be limited to those who were paid staff. I was even told one time by a pastor that I should probably think about going someplace else, since there were not enough opportunities in this particular church. That statement stung, but it started me asking, "What's wrong with this picture, and am I to do something about it?" What I think is wrong with the picture is the role of leadership in the church. It talks a good game about empowering the laity, identifying spiritual gifts and unleashing them, but many times the unleashing is simply to do more church work. It may say it is asking for leaders, but it is really asking for volunteers. Leaders lead. Volunteers just fit in where needed. And since volunteers were well represented, as a leader then, I knew I had to be a part of a solution, and to do so, I had to leave the current form of church as we know it and start fresh. My blog header states an idea of identifying the pastors and giving the church back to them. In the process I have come to realize that pastor is a gift, not just an office, and that we will overlook a multitude of gifted shepherds because the current form of the church as we know it does not make room for them. My struggle to find a place had more to do with the heirarchy of church organization than anything. The advising pastor was right; there was little room for me, because the form didn't allow it. This brings me to the point of why the "flattening of the world" is of such interest to me. I believe the culture is shifting toward a paradigm that will allow more and more pastors/leaders to get involved in exercising their gifting. The two words from a previous post--habits and participation-- say volumes. As the culture makes room for more and more people to participate in the global marketplace, they will grow increasingly suspicious of steep heirarchical structures. They will ask, "What's the use?" As it becomes more intolerable in the marketplace, it will most certainly be intolerable in the church.

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