Sunday, 3 August 2008

3. Mutual Ministry Methods

I've spent a lot of time investigating the way people do Mutual / Total or Local Shared Ministry. It is probably impossible, if not unwise to import and adopt such methods wholesale, but there are a number of tools worth borrowing:
  • Discernment Processes: Why not use some of the collaborative discernment processes used in Mutual Ministry? Calver Calver has been experimenting by giving out lists of members and asking which individuals would make good church wardens. She thinks this was reasonably successful. Why not extend this further and do an annual ministry discernment process? (See The Wisdom of Crowds for my reflections)
  • Deploy Enablers: I met Alister Palmer who served as an enabler in Tazmania - in fact he set up the system there! He sees himself as an Enabler in his work in Bristol and is doing interesting things. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't employ clergy as enablers and give them appropriate job descriptions. David Robertson tells us a lot about how to do Collaborative Ministry in a traditional setting, but it is possible within Anglican structures to appoint clergy in creative ways...
  • Do Collaborative Ministry: Likewise it is possible to go for a fully collaborative model within existing frameworks, as long as everyone has a shared understanding. Experiments at Water Eaton, Loughton and elsewhere are already proving this in practice...
  • Practice Withdrawl: Clergy need to avoid the tempatation of dependency. It is possible (and extremely wise) to back off and try not to be there all the time. This is the only way that congregations can grow towards maturity. Once again, it is possible. Why aren't we doing it more?
In summary, we can achieve quite a bit by borrowing from the Mutual Ministry tool-kit without neccessarily adopting the whole model.

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