Thursday, September 26, 2013

Turning corners, changing cars and cleaning house

I just noticed that it's been a month since I last posted anything on this blog. There was a time when I posted something every day. Thankfully that was only an experiment and I've slowed down since then! I have written a few posts, well started them, but not finished any of them. There was one about the need to pray for Syria, a still current concern, and I thought about writing something about stretching quad muscles, but that was for my other blog.

Then there have a been a few reflective thoughts on 1Thessalonians around the connection between Paul's opening prayer and words to the church and missional thinking. I'm constantly trying to figure out what exactly it mans to live missionally. It's such a slippery turn of phrase, easier to recognise what it isn't rather than what it is. Perhaps I'll get around to making sense of those thoughts.

As we continue to think about what it means to live in a community, serving among the members of that community, working with them and living out our faith as we do so. One of the things that we had to decide concerned our relationship with the denomination we've served for over twenty years. In order to remain an accredited minister of the denomination I needed to be in membership of a church in the denomination. The thing is the nearest church to us that fits that bill is the one we left!

So, in the end, we decided that it was time to call it a day. We didn't feel we could join a church just to retain accreditation and then not attend, that runs counter to my view of membership of a local church. Had we not taken the decision to resign then others would have made the decision for us, so it was better we decided. To be honest, the debate about accreditation just seemed to get in the way of meaningful conversations with other baptist ministers about partnership and relationship.

So here we are. We're not alone. We have a faith community that shares some of the same vision and vocabulary about the missional journey as we do. To all those who keep asking how I'm doing now I've "left the ministry", my answer remains that I have not left the ministry, I'm just doing it differently.

So, we've turned a new corner in our journey and in some ways we've cleaned house by tidying up some of the loose ends concerning our relationship with the denomination. A sad day, but a liberating one too. As to cars, well, if the dealer can get their act together, that too will change in the next few days!