Update 1 year later : A new way of thinking

 

At this point, after almost a year of intense dialogue around the Master Plan, it seems appropriate and even necessary to try to give greater specificity to some of the concepts and aspirations expressed in that first document. Much greater clarity has been gained regarding the promise and potential obstacles offered by the Plan as it has been presented and discussed before various leadership groups in the Commonwealth. The following comments, written somewhat hurriedly, may perhaps seem a bit rambling and asystematic at first, but I hope that what they might lack in logical progression they will make up for in spontaneity and organic coherence.

It has been encouraging to see the degree of enthusiasm with which the Plan has been received wherever it has been presented. It seems that the Body of Christ in Massachusetts is ready for the kind of thinking and ministry model that the Plan presupposes. We all seem to be in agreement that the time has come for the Church to explore a different way of carrying out the business of the Kingdom. While remaining faithful to each of our particular callings (pastoral, parachurch, lay ministry, denominational), we also agree that we need to intentionally divert significant energies to Kingdom-level pursuits, collective endeavors that will nourish and shape the foundational matrix upon and within which we carry out the daily business of ministry. We seem to agree that as we begin to experiment and learn to think and act corporately, adopting a systemic approach to ministry, everyone will benefit at the local level. As the dominant atmosphere that surrounds and governs all our individual efforts is made more receptive to the values and principles of the Christian world-view, as we positively affect the underlying structures and systemic framework that delimit the surface dynamic of ministry, each parachurch institution, each individual pastorate, will ultimately benefit and be enhanced.

The strategic thinking and effort of the Church that the Plan presupposes represents the ultimate investment. As such, it requires that we all be willing to pay upfront, so to speak, to engage in significant efforts and risks at the very beginning, with no absolute guarantee of gain, exercising faith, animated only by a vision, and by the prospect of gaining significant profit somewhere along the journey, perhaps only at the end. The initial impetus for this kind of visionary endeavor can only be found in the realm of faith – the prophetic intimation that God may somehow be involved in all this, that we may have stumbled on to a kairos moment, where the Father himself is encouraging us into this journey, guaranteeing us His wisdom, resources and blessing. Like any other God-initiated journey, the path itself will offer enough justification: The very things learned and experienced along the way, beyond the pay-off itself, will leave us transformed, enhanced and enriched, better prepared than ever for fruitful, lasting ministry.

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