The local pastor and the itinerant apostle: proposal coming soon

I want to give this proposal some time to lay it out well. I’ve run out of time this week and am leaving for a totally un-wired vacation. I know you’ve been anxiously waiting, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Sorry!

[Edit: The final post is now posted here.]

In the meantime, if you missed them, go back and read the earlier posts about how our changing culture requires changes in how we handle ministry roles, how the New Testament describes ministry roles, and how the early Methodists handled those roles.

After that, maybe you can use the comments to give your own suggestions. How do ministry roles need to work to best address our current culture and remain faithful to Scripture and history?

2 thoughts on “The local pastor and the itinerant apostle: proposal coming soon

  1. I wonder if the ideal now for many areas would be to have Elder’s assigned to a circuit of sorts, but for every church in the circuit to have its own lay leadership including at least one lay speaker/servant. The elder would provide (hopefully)humble leadership and development of the lay leadership and direct the United Methodist Church (broadly, not one congregation) in an area. Under a system like this an Elder might be officially assigned to the largest church of those in the circuit, but would even have a lay speaker/servant there and would view it as home base of the broader parish.

    In East Texas they’ve pioneered something like this in rural areas where “county seat” churches could afford elders for the first part of their ministry, but would lose them because they couldn’t afford to give them raises and churches in Houston could. They adopted a more parish model and now in several areas the Elder at the largest church in the area provides leadership and oversight of 3-4 other churches and those churches, usually led by licensed local pastors, provide a few thousand dollars in salary support each to the Elder meaning that he or she can continue to use their experience there without having to forgo similar salary as their peers. They preach most weeks at the main church but, if I recall correctly, do preach at each of the churches they’re providing leadership to every few months. There is much greater potential for combined ministry and allowing each church to lean into its strengths.

    I could detail more on either if you’d like.

    1. John,

      This is great! I hadn’t heard about East Texas doing this, but I think it’s an enormous step in a positive direction. Now the question: are those elders being able to focus on evangelism and new church plants, or are they just splitting their time among existing churches? If the latter, I still wonder where the evangelists are.

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