08 October 2007

Revolution Question #1: Make the mountains low and raise the valleys.

Rather than blog for pages and pages on my experiences of this past week, I think I'm just going to pose a question every couple days for people to think about (and hopefully) respond too regarding post-modernity, and missiology.

Question #1:
To paraphrase Alan Hirsch - If the people can't understand the revolution, we can't have a people revolution.

So, why is there an overall standard that decrees that clergy must attend 4+ years of schooling in order to 'lead the people'? Can't anyone start a church?

I'm all for higher education (and will go for my Masters I'm sure someday), but why is it necessary for a movement that should be eliminating hierarchy actually place importance on elevating it?


sonja said...

Ya got me ... but in my weird world I look around to see who the followers are to determine who the leaders are. Leaders are made by their sheep not by degrees.

Of course, that kind of foolishness got me banished.

Julie said...

On the degree issue. Our churches do not teach about stuff like history and biblical criticism. Those are things the average Christians knows little about, but which creep up in most secular educations. The typical Christian response when confronted with the oddities of history or the apparent contradictions in scripture is to deny them because they know nothing about them. That makes us loose a lot of credibility. Being accessible to people doesn't mean that we need to be stupid or unaware.

paul said...

It's a hard one to balance - in some denominations/movements anyone can start a church, if you aren't in a denom/movt you can start a church and others try and help you by preparing you a bit first- whether that helps in the long run who knows :)

David said...

IMO - Christians, like the rest of humanity should grow in knowledge and experience. When we stop learning we wither and die (or just wait for the rapture!).

But we don't need a degree to start church do we? Peasants started a revival in China. It was noted by the Pharasees that the Disciples were 'uneducted' men and they changed the world.

Paul was in Thessolonica 9 days and started a church.

I don't think the kingdom of God is dependent upon knowledge or degrees, so therefore, nor should a church leader.
But I'm all for the gaining of knowledge as a life long process no matter who you are.
After all it's our K in NAKED.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in John Stackhouse's blog entry entitled "Seminary: Who Needs It?" Not that Stackhouse is the final authority, but his thoughts might add to the conversation:


"[S]ometimes seminaries do narrow the options too much, so that those who are not socialized in such places sometimes are the ones who spontaneously innovate.

Creative people, however, normally have a considerable store of knowledge of a field before they innovate–in a way that produces lasting, influential, and positive results. Anybody can do something merely new in church: that doesn’t require knowledge, insight, or special imagination. Just have everyone who leads the service wear a pink hat, or just have everyone who attends a service keep hopping from one foot to another. (I hope I’m not giving anyone any ideas….) But lasting, influential, and positive results normally come from people who know a given field well–so well that they can see what needs changing and then how to change it for the better."

David said...

I usually ignore anonymous posts but this one's okay. :-)

I don't think seminary is the issue...although it could be I guess in some situations as John explains in the link.

But whether we go to seminary or not can we create a organism that doesn't rely on the hierchy that has existed in the church since Constantine?

One of my 'leaders' is a seminary grad and I am not - but I do have 15+ years of hands on ministry experience as well as being in the culture outside the church. Which one is more qualified?

Actually neither of us.

I think everyone is 'called' differently. The question is for each of us to ask is what are we doing when we are called - creating a hierarchy or fostering a community?

I've seen both from people with M-Divs and I've seen both from people without them.

However and organic system will launch leaders and train them as they go (plant a church...whatever) and live, learn, and spread the gospel.
A hierchy tends to demand requirements of too much education first.

Jesus didn't take his disciples to seminary, he lived life with them in ministry.
And I would argue that seminary does NOT make a difference on how one can relate to trends and culture concerning the future direction of the church.

Wow, that got longer than intended.

Anonymous said...

David, I think Stackhouse agrees with you even if he leans a little in the pro-formal-education direction.

"So let’s recall again that lots of leaders around the world today don’t have seminary education and seem to enjoy God’s blessing. And that’s been true in every era of the church."

As Rob Bell might say, formal training makes for a wonderful servant but a terrible master. I'm glad for the formal training of people like Rob Bell and do think their training helps them be more effective; although the training is far from the only reason they are effective.

David said...

Good point Mr. A.
And I'm thankful for all the people who have taught me in my life that do have more formal education.