Tuesday, 16 December 2014

C of E to groom talent for top jobs: Reshaping and reinventing ministry

Some random jottings on the 'Future leaders' Report - this is destined to but the first of a few of these I'm sure as I've only managed to get one area covered. Please feel free to comment (and criticise):

The first part of the report deals with training up the senior staff and my first response is that this would not be a bad thing. That said. I do think there is a potential problem in the 'churchification' of management terms, theories and practice. After all, as much as many people will rant and rage and then despair at the use of the secular, the rebranding into Christianspeak will surely cause even more sadness. Let's call a spade a spade and get on with using it to create solutions, establish good practice, and clear away the dross that has hampered the process - but let us not forget that first and foremost we are a people of prayer and live by faith in Jesus, the Christ.

Under the heading of  'Reshaping ministry'' - where development of gifts and abilities of God's people is the intended outcome (lay and ordained); the ministry of equipping, training and releasing that has been the hallmark of Church since Church began. Here we need training needs analysis (TNA) and motivation skills, coaching and mentoring to collide with an understanding of ministry as seen in Jesus (must never lose sight of the fact that doing what He does is pivotal) and others in the Bible (champ and chump). We need motivators and people so full of passion that they are a contagion  against which the world has no cure. We need people so on fire for Christ that others want to listen, follow and emulate them - and this is Jesus! Not job design, renumeration and work quantification (I know, I've done them in a previous life).

Elton Mayo and Freddy Herzberg are heroes of mine and yet whilst they motivated and understood how to get people to be productive, neither of them died on a cross for me! I can seek to express myself because all other needs are satisfied or understand that in being creative I am mirroring the Father - and all of the hierarchy of needs is met such that I am set free to be me.

What we need to do is communicate what 'baptismal calling' is all about and assist people to recognise and fulfil that calling in their own lives.

Doing management courses and gaining bits of paper taught me much. Some of it was even useful - all of it was interesting. The real thing that taught me was doing the job and falling over but still getting what needed to be done, done. The theory was great but I wasn't in Hawthorn and I wasn't in that same culture or time scale - but I was with people and the positive strokes regarding engagement and releasing and enhancing ministry were delivered by a scourge to the Christ's back!

I've been an Industrial Engineer and have reorganised and quantified and revised and devised much and yet at the end of the day it came down to relationship and engagement - not the models or case studies of others. The lectures and syndicates and reading added to my arsenal, but at the end of the day it ws about engagement - how very Christlike is that?
 Don't misunderstand me, I am not against the training of senior staff engaging in ways of Reshaping Ministry,  I merely want them to be informed, made aware and enabled rather than educated! I want them to be disciples and to make disciples who want to make disciples. This is how we 'reshape ministry' - not through one dimensional ministry reviews and the images captured in broken looking glasses.

We do need to encourage thinking that calls senior staff to leave their ivory pulpits and safe, yet diminishing, diocesan fortresses and understand what is needed and what might bring about positive change. Recognising the need to move away from the well meaning amateur, that bumbling and slightly inept cleric we know so well, is a positive move but must not develop academic rigour as a replacement for the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit and prayer. It would be easy to create God in a management image and exchange calling and inspiration of the Holy Spirit for a mess of management potage.

We need to create in our senior staff enigmas akin to investment accountants who are willing to move away from the traditional safety of conservative thinking to fund new businesses and new models of thinking. Spiritual venture capitalists who push back the boundaries and regain the ground we have lost through slow responses and incompetence; people who release the laity because that's what we should be doing rather than need to be doing because we are broke; people who engage in investing in clergy and projects that are doing the stuff rather than frustrate them with meaningless applications of management such as the dreadful MDR process (is is any wonder that some people will mistrust the 'management and business skills promise of this report after their MDR experience?)?

A plea: 
To those outside the report - Don't throw this report in the bin or reject it as secular but accentuate the positives and call for the church to build on them. 

To those with the power - Don't engage in churchification but use management tools where they are helpful and productive alongside models of Church and opportunities for prayer without trying to con us they are 'spiritual' - the being spiritual comes by being prudent and using all before us to support and extend our ministry.

We need to applaud this attempt to make us more effective and seek change and modification rather than it's demise as gleaning reveals it to be, like the Curate's egg, not all bad!

Surprised? I am :-)


Nigel R said...

A balanced and informed review.


Elaine EVans said...

I wonder if this report might have been received more favourably if it had been written by anyone other that someone at the very least tainted and at the worst one of the architects of the same banking scandal/crisis?
And I agree wholeheartedly with your final paragraph (which is not to say that I don't agree with what came before, only that they are your story and not mine and therefore I can only hear it and not agree or disagree with it.)

I hope that proper money is made available for CMD at all levels of the church, and that CMD is a requirement not only for stipended clerics but for ALL who exercise ministry within and on behalf of the church.