Diary of a nobody!
Some will no doubt hear of me ranting away about change and reform in the Kirk and dismiss me as an irksome nobody who will soon fizzle out. Maybe I am and maybe I will. Potentially, God willing, I may be around for some years yet, so I’ll keeping ranting away meantime for change and reform as I believe God urges me to do!
Will my endeavours change anything? That’s up to you, fellow reformers! Now let me make this clear, I am a nobody in terms of the Church and this wonderful crazy world, and I don’t care to make any kind of name for myself, but change often comes from small starts. I always take heart from that old story of Jesus who called twelve ordinary guys to lead the charge on change and remember what happened?
You might very well disagree, and think that the Church needs to change little, and that decline is not the Church’s fault but a society that has gone all secular and left God to the side. Really? That’s only a piece of the jigsaw!
The last Ministries Council Ascend publication had an article entitled “Change is happening”, referring to statistics of decline which will get even worse over the next five years. It states, “This means that ministers and elders that remain are often being asked to cover a great deal of additional work.” It also states that attempts are being made to address this challenge through the likes of hub ministries, new mission activities, Pioneer Ministers and Fresh Expressions. Sorry, but this is a sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound!
* Presbytery Planning on the whole is simply managing decline whilst few seem to be tackling the challenge with imaginative radical new solutions!
* No one is educating congregations about the need to change – read a random selection of vacancy profiles – some are so stuck in the past it is depressing!
* Facing a Church where one out of three charges will be vacant, who is covering services and funerals for ministers when they are off on holiday or study leave or ill? Other ministers who are already up to their eyes in it? Or calling on overtired retired ministers more often that we should? Or “training” the many volunteers who are already multi-tasking in the Kirk? And who is looking after the vacant charges and all that that entails?
* We have ministers covering some of the tasks that office bearers used to do just to keep the show on the road! Some joke about not managing to get a day off, how ridiculous! When did God call you to work yourself to death because the Church refuses to change?
* How easy is it to find a Session Clerk or a Treasurer or an organist or a Buildings manager or other leadership positions that involve great commitment?
* Cash strapped congregations, in need of more funds to try to grow, are paying into a system that needs to see cutbacks in its central bureaucracy.
Shall I go on? You can add to that list yourselves, you know you want to! But ranting is not enough, I know that; we need to start to find solutions, or at the very least, new pathways. I hope to share more of new pathways in the months ahead, but if you have time, why don’t you drop me a note to add fuel to this blog or help me to fly a kite of change on a particular aspect of Kirk life to get the ball rolling? Or will the present set-up see you out? Who cares for the Church of the future?
(Excerpt from “Diary of a nobody aboard the Titanic”)!