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Does anyone know when???


I am blessed to serve with some pretty amazing folks.  They are talented, they are gifted, they are enthusiastic, they are people who get tired and frustrated.  It’s a typical congregation really, too few folks doing too much of the work too much of the time.  My folks and their Pastor get tired, discouraged, and burned out because it seems as if others expect the things that need to be done just magically get taken care of.

When did the Church go professional?  I remember in my days prowling the campus at LTSS that we talked about programs, and management of the parish.  Today there are so many books on church management and leadership that many seminary bookstores look eerily similar to the bookstore at any university with a business school.  When did the Church go professional?  Professional pastors, professional council members (we all have those that are always on council or a committee), and professional volunteers.  

Maybe I’ve become one of those guys – the nostalgic good old days crowd – knowing full well that things haven’t changed that drastically in my days in ministry but still longing for something different.  We used to talk about the 80/20 rule, then the 85/15 rule, now it’s probably more 88/12 rule – meaning 12 percent of the folks provide 88 percent of the resources (time, talent, treasure) to do ministry.

When I look back at history I don’t see a professional church, I see a movement of faith.  From the early disciples, to Constantines reforms, to Luther and the Reformation – I see a movement, driven by the wind and flame of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps that’s what I long for. A movement, something that creates excitement in the heart, in the pew, in the community, in the world.  A movement that causes us to have to draw lots to see who will serve and not just be thankful we have a warm body to fill an ballot spot.  A movement that causes us to have to get away from the crowds to pray, not sleep away a Sunday afternoon because we are so exhausted by what we perceive to be others expectations.  A movement that causes thousands to shout “Hosanna” instead of a hundred to mumble “and also with you.”

I closed my sermon last week with this prayer, “Lord, send your Spirit to stir us… oh forget it, we don’t want to be stirred, send your spirit to grab us by the nape of our neck and carry us into the world.” 


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