Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It’s not about the pastor: A reflection on the Vital Ministry Journey

The Vital Ministry Journey, an initiative of the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries, is a process that empowers congregations to recapture a dynamic vision and mission to live abundantly and be God’s blessing to the community. This reflection on the Vital Ministry Journey is by Chris Bowman:

One of the best things about Vital Ministry Journey is that it is not about the minister. More accurately: it’s not about the pastoral minister.

The VMJ process is about the church. It is about the journey as this “fellowship of Jesus-followers,” together. It is not about the pastor.

Ministry is the calling of every Jesus-follower. Our baptism is our ordination. Our personal giftedness shared in community is our training. Wherever God sends us is our “mission field” as God calls us to do our part in the unfolding Kingdom of Heaven with whomever God sends to us.

To keep alive, empowered, vital, and connected to God, we gather to read the scripture, share our insights, and pray.

This kind of gathering is not new. Reading the Oakton Church minutes for 1903-1913 we see this kind of vital ministry journey was part of every church Council meeting (though by a different name).

Every three months the whole church would gather and share about how things were going and where the needs were in their community. Then someone would “admonish the Brethren.” Nowadays the word “admonish” means “to scold” but back then it meant “to encourage” or “urge forward.”

In the same way this year we meet together to hone, sharpen, and stay relevant as these individual gifts are knit together in the ministries of the Body of Christ. Thus, here at Oakton Church, VMJ is laity led.

This is what a rePurposing church is: It continually connects people to their ministry purpose.

It is not about the pastor! For too long church pastoral leadership has been heard saying, “We professionals can do it; you can help.”

The emerging church is different. We are to be more like that Home Depot slogan: “You can do it! We can help.”

Let me put it another way: “If your minister is the one doing your Vital Ministry Journey, you’re doing it wrong.”

-- Chris Bowman’s blog post about the Vital Ministry Journey is reprinted from the website of Oakton Church of the Brethren, with permission. Find out more about the Vital Ministry Journey at www.brethren.org/congregationallife/vmj.

Source: 6/10/2014 Newsline

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