I’m looking forward to the gathering of peer learning group conveners on Wednesday of next week at the kick-off of this year’s General Assembly in Charlotte, NC. These conveners are doing a magnificent job convening groups across the country. Pam Durso, director of Baptist Women in Ministry, will address this group. In addition, we will celebrate plans for these groups into the future.
I have recently read Sabbath in the City by Bryan Stone and Claire Wolfteich, which is essential for ministers in every kind of setting. Stone and Wolfteich offer a vision of ministry grounded in friendship and renewal – and perhaps most importantly – of cities seen not as problems to be solved, but as places where God meets us and challenges us to embrace the creative work of the life of faith. Here’s an excerpt from this book:
“It may be useful at the outset to say a few words about the term ‘excellence.’ Frankly speaking, many of the pastors participating in our project expressed ambivalence about the word and its connotations in relation to Christian ministry. For one thing, no pastor ever fulfills his or her vocation perfectly just as no congregation ever fulfills its mission perfectly. Talk of ‘excellence,’ therefore, might seem to run counter to the humility that is at the heart of the gospel. One pastor suggested that if we can use the term excellence to describe Christian pastors, it is an excellence that is more about brokenness and cruciform discipleship than about ‘doing more.’ There is a death to self that pastors reported to us in various ways as being at the core of pastoral excellence. But it is not a death of self that comes through busy-ness, depletion, exhaustion, and overextending oneself. On the contrary, it is a death to self in the sense of letting go, being able to say no, and releasing the stranglehold pastors sometimes think they need to keep on their congregations and ministries.”