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Source: (consider it) Thread: When ministry becomes a deflated balloon...
Raptor Eye
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I've spoken to several people recently, both ordained priests and lay Readers, who've been far from satisfied with the way ministry has panned out. The common factor at its core is that the role doesn't fit with what they thought they were called to do and trained for.

From what they've told me, the selection and training process breathes air into a balloon of expectation which is released to expend all of its energy in this direction and that until it finally falls on the ground completely deflated. They've ended up stressed and wondering whether to change direction or stick at it.

What are your thoughts and experiences? Is this common? What if anything can be done to marry up calling and training with real life?

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Ender's Shadow
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1) Almost every job includes substantial elements that are unexpected; the idea that 'ministry' should be any difference seems to be unreasonable.

2) If they felt called to a particular vocation, the question is whether they were called to the manifestation that they had seen, or whether God was calling them forward to a particular opportunity of service in their particular denomination. Surely it must be the latter, so they should 'stick with the project'.

3) To the extent that their training was wrong, blame the trainers - and complain about the training. We all know that ministry training can tend to become detached from the reality on the ground, but that is an issue that should be addressed vocally and repeated.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I have on occasion spoken about "things they didn't teach me in theological college" which include such delights as pasting up posters, clearing blocked drains, and running budgies to the vet - not to mention soothing ruffled feathers at church meetings!

We have to remember that we live in the real world, which means that we can't always dwell in an exalted spiritual bubble, nor expect all (or even most) of our people to be ultra-committed super-saints.

Like most jobs, ministry has its high and its low points. I think we should be grateful that it is far more varied and interesting than most "jobs", and that ministers have far greater control over what they do (and when they do it) than lots of other folk.

Yes, I get fed up with ministry at times - but so did St. Paul! - just read 2 Cor. 4, for example.

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the long ranger
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I wonder what it was that they were expecting that they didn't get. Surely anyone who spent any time in the denomination of their ordination would have some idea of the reality..?

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justlooking
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quote:
Originally posted by the long ranger:
I wonder what it was that they were expecting that they didn't get. Surely anyone who spent any time in the denomination of their ordination would have some idea of the reality..?

In the case of Readers, whose central calling is preaching, I think they would expect to preach.
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Doublethink.
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Do ordinands get taught the psychology of group process ?

(I know teachers either don't get taught behavioural psychology or are not taught how to apply it.)

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Freddy
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Engaging in Christian ministry in a post-Christian culture is inherently frustrating.

It's like trying to sell Cabbage Patch dolls after the craze has passed.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Poppy

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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Do ordinands get taught the psychology of group process ?

(I know teachers either don't get taught behavioural psychology or are not taught how to apply it.)

The psychology of groups was an option at my college. I didn't take that one as I've done some of that theory before, but the short courses on conflict management, financial leadership, working with the press, mental health and disablity were all really good. This is in addition to the usual college stuff on the bible, doctrine, liturgy etc.

I expect to be inducted into the ways of the parish photocopier and heating system during my curacy.

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BroJames
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I think it is inherently likely that for many or even most people part of their call to ordained or licensed ministry (C of E terminology) will have flowed from what they saw other ministers doing. I.e. it will have been connected to the visible aspects of the ministerial role.

The reality of ministry is that there are many other things which are expected to be done. The person who had a clear sense of calling to preach and to teach, also finds themselves expected to fulfil a bread and butter role in pastoral care, chair meetings of various kinds and be involved in the administration and running of an organisation which has many of the characteristics of a small business.

Sometimes, in the midst of that it happens that people lose sight of the original focus of their calling, or that the demands of the other aspects of the ministerial role become such that they are no longer able to give adequate attention to that part of their role. It's very easy for deflated balloon syndrome to kick in at that point, and it can be very hard amidst the continuing demands of the role to find space to refocus, and to adjust what one is doing to give greater priority to the things which were the focus of the call in the first place.

There are still many places where the structure presumes a more or less omnicompetent minister, even though there are not many places left where people still believe in the idea of the omnicompetent minister.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
quote:
Originally posted by the long ranger:
I wonder what it was that they were expecting that they didn't get. Surely anyone who spent any time in the denomination of their ordination would have some idea of the reality..?

In the case of Readers, whose central calling is preaching, I think they would expect to preach.
I get to preach quite a lot.

I thionk that some of the clergy and congregation would like me to do other things that I am not very good at more than I do. And I sometimes feel guilty about not being able to fulful those expectations. But they really want someone else, not me. When that person comes along things might work better.

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Ken

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
Engaging in Christian ministry in a post-Christian culture is inherently frustrating.

It's like trying to sell Cabbage Patch dolls after the craze has passed.

Perhaps the problem is that the system attracts people whose strengths are primarily in pastoral work and in teaching and preaching, whereas current circumstances require significant investment in people who are called to be evangelists. It seems to be very rare to find these skills and/or callings all in one person. Churches are beginning to see the need for skilled evangelists (or 'evangelism enablers'), but most denominations still focus on the pastoral, preaching/teaching role, which must indeed be frustrating if you're constantly met with decline, and you don't feel able to do anything about it.
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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
quote:
Originally posted by the long ranger:
I wonder what it was that they were expecting that they didn't get. Surely anyone who spent any time in the denomination of their ordination would have some idea of the reality..?

In the case of Readers, whose central calling is preaching, I think they would expect to preach.
There lies one of the difficulties, so it seems. When priests see it as their job to do the preaching and teaching, whether or not this was their specific calling, the Readers I speak to are sidelined to occasional preaching at or leading 'lesser' services, while the priests are complaining at having so much sermon preparation to do. I don't know whether perception of status has something to do with this.

The priests saw their roles as far more to do with spirituality and pastoral engagement and far less to do with administration and financial management, although they knew the latter would be part of the package.

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the long ranger
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@Raptor Eye - there is your problem, what is all this crap about 'lesser services' and the idea that administration is not part of a calling?

Simple solution is not to ordain anyone.

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"..into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “But Rabbi, how can this happen for those who have no teeth?”
"..If some have no teeth, then teeth will be provided.”

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by the long ranger:
@Raptor Eye - there is your problem, what is all this crap about 'lesser services' and the idea that administration is not part of a calling?

Simple solution is not to ordain anyone.

You may be right [Big Grin] Does ordination give someone a status which might inflate an ego......?

Are people called into the holy order of an organised Church? Somehow a calling into a monastery or convent seems more clear cut.

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Evensong
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In my opinion parish ministry where there is one priest helped by a few Lay ministers or Lay Pastoral Ministers is totally outdated.

Team ministry with larger churches is where it will be at in the future IMO.

Training is still based on the old model...which leads to inevitable disappointment and discouragement.

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Belle Ringer
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I wonder if some people feel a calling from God and mistakenly assume that means get ordained and get a church, because that's the only use of "calling" by the church so it's the only way they know to respond to a calling. It being the wrong calling, they are not happy, the itch remains.

Yes a "discernment process" supposedly prevents the "wrong" people from being ordained. From what I've seen, the discernment process is flawed. Some good people, a number of mediocre, a few who don't belong there at all.

The USA Methodists apparently recently changed their rules to allow them to get rid of their mistakes instead of the lifetime guarantee of employment. At least they are finally admitting the discernment doesn't always work!

[ 25. May 2012, 14:11: Message edited by: Belle Ringer ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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/Tangent/ As (UK) Baptist ministers are employed by individual churches, they have never had the guarantee of lifetime employment. They can be sacked much more easily than an Anglican priest; they could decide to leave a church and end up finding themselves unemployed.

These situations are not very common - but they do occur. /Tangent ends/

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
In my opinion parish ministry where there is one priest helped by a few Lay ministers or Lay Pastoral Ministers is totally outdated.

Team ministry with larger churches is where it will be at in the future IMO.

Training is still based on the old model...which leads to inevitable disappointment and discouragement.

Well, I can't speak for Australia, of course - but all my clergy training was about collaboration - teams, groups, integration of lay and ordained etc. And I understood that that was very much the CofE approach in general? Most Teams, eg, couldn't exist without that approach. However, it's not about teams with larger churches - it's teams with larger numbers of churches which can be a problem in itself.

The title of the thread reminds me of an anecdote told about Dwight L Moody. Someone observed to him, you're always praying about being filled with the Holy Spirit. When you pray that way, aren't you filled, then - so why keep praying about it? His reply was: oh yes, but I leak!

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Masha
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quote:
Belle Ringer: I wonder if some people feel a calling from God and mistakenly assume that means get ordained and get a church, because that's the only use of "calling" by the church so it's the only way they know to respond to a calling. It being the wrong calling, they are not happy, the itch remains.

Yes a "discernment process" supposedly prevents the "wrong" people from being ordained. From what I've seen, the discernment process is flawed. Some good people, a number of mediocre, a few who don't belong there at all.

I can't speak for the US but in my part of the UK every vocations event I've ever been to has put huge emphasis on 'it might NOT be ordination'. There's even a popular book which pretty much tells you that even if you think you're called to ordination the chances are you're not!

Just taking ordained ministry as an example (purely because Reader ministry tends to be more 'clear-cut' in the churches I've known):

How do you pull out what and who is 'good at it'? Leaving aside the issue of those who cause great harm - and plenty lay ministers and members of congregations do that too - if a priest is who someone is then how can you tell them they're not 'good'?

How do you judge them to be mediocre? They might have a rich and committed prayer life where they pray, in detail, for each member of their congregation...but be crap at paperwork and miles behind organising the finances, does that make them a mediocre or 'bad' priest?

The discernment process isn't perfect but I'd suggest it's pretty decent and it's the best we can do at the moment.

So, I suppose my question is: What would you do differently? How would YOU select people?

ETA: I've met a lot of clergy types and I've never met a single person who I'd deem 'unfit' to be ordained. I just don'e think I have the right to judge that. But perhaps I'm just easy to please.

[ 25. May 2012, 15:22: Message edited by: Masha ]

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SvitlanaV2
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Masha

Frank Viola, proponent of the concept of the organic church, sees it this way. The problem, in his mind, is that we invariably start from the office and look for people to fill the office, rather than starting from what people's revealed gifts are. If you're looking to fill jobs, it must be easy to see just what you want to see. In his scenario, however, 'ministry' is simply a matter of giving a formal blessing to roles that people are already performing in their local church. In other words, they've already become ministers 'organically', so there's no need to take someone on who hasn't already seen their skills put to use in role.

This is a departure from how things work in institutional churches, or how they're ever likely to work, but I thought I'd mention it.

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Bartolomeo

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I have observed a pattern of people called to ministry later in life. They undertake years of study and hard work. They are then typically called by a small, older, conservative congregation that is probably best understand as a chaplaincy.

Disappointment ensues when they realize that theologically, liturgically, evangelically, socially, and musically, their congregation is stuck in 1956.

Few pastors will have the opportunity to serve a growing church that embraces evangelism, liberal theology, and cutting-edge worship practices.

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"Individual talent is too sporadic and unpredictable to be allowed any important part in the organization society" --Stuart Chase

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Bartolomeo
Few pastors will have the opportunity to serve a growing church that embraces evangelism, liberal theology, and cutting-edge worship practices.

Is it even possible for all three of those to be present in the same place at the same time?

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Masha:


How do you pull out what and who is 'good at it'? Leaving aside the issue of those who cause great harm - and plenty lay ministers and members of congregations do that too - if a priest is who someone is then how can you tell them they're not 'good'?

How do you judge them to be mediocre? They might have a rich and committed prayer life where they pray, in detail, for each member of their congregation...but be crap at paperwork and miles behind organising the finances, does that make them a mediocre or 'bad' priest?

The discernment process isn't perfect but I'd suggest it's pretty decent and it's the best we can do at the moment.

So, I suppose my question is: What would you do differently? How would YOU select people?

ETA: I've met a lot of clergy types and I've never met a single person who I'd deem 'unfit' to be ordained. I just don'e think I have the right to judge that. But perhaps I'm just easy to please.

I think this throws some light on it too. Everyone is unique, and will have a unique calling, but the role mould to be squeezed into will never be exactly the right shape. Discernment will hopefully filter out those of completely the wrong shape.

There may be something in the 'bottom-up' idea, which takes the natural role, develops it and draws people together into ministry teams so that all aspects are covered.

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Masha
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SvitlanaV2,

Actually that IS how it's supposed to work.

That's why people don't get ordained and learn 'on the job' as it were.

They look for people who are using gifts and ministering in their local context. Those people are encouraged to study theology and spend a few years in formation. Only then are they ordained. So I don't see it as the 'powers that be' looking for someone to fit a job spec. There is no one clergy job description and how ministry looks varies from person to person.

Of course, YMMV. As they say around here.

[ 25. May 2012, 19:02: Message edited by: Masha ]

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SvitlanaV2
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Masha

So why are there situations where someone is ordained who isn't suitable? Surely, if they've organically developed into ministry in their own churches, there wouldn't be any shock when they get the official seal of approval, would there?

Perhaps the problem occurs when the churches in which they've developed their skills are rather unusual, and the jobs available to them afterwards are in a very different environment. But that too seems like rather poor management of the individual's skills.

However, I'm not really convinced that our churches have much sense of organic ministry. The usual situation is that churches are desperate to fill posts, and anyone with okay social skills, who's fairly articulate and intelligent will be coerced into a job. I've often heard ministers complain about how lay people are appointed to jobs in church! And because of the special expectations put on ministers, it's not easy for an ordinary church member to get a real feel for the responsibilites and limitations of the role, I imagine.

I also think ministers themselves have some boundaries around what they feel is their distinctive role, and they don't necessarily want to see those boundaries blurred by the laity. But I accept that my experience will be different from yours.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Masha

So why are there situations where someone is ordained who isn't suitable?

Because things don't always work the way they're supposed to work?

I've known at least one cleric who said they would've said whatever was needed in order to be ordained. It worked; until that person realized that there were constraints on their ordained ministry which they didn't want to work within. They knew about them before selection and training, but they truly thought they'd be able to 'sort it out' once the 'magic' was done.

More innocently, some folks do have extraordinarily bad experiences which can put them off.

I think, too, one doesn't know how it'll feel to be in various circumstances of ministry, till one is there. Some people think they'll love the idea of being the people's pastor - but the feeling doesn't always match the anticipation. Maybe it's a bit like wanting to be a much loved family GP, only to find out a few years in, you'd prefer to work in a morgue with the variety of patient that doesn't talk back?

Where the wisdom comes into it, is knowing whether it's just a natural blip in ministry, or a fair indication of a reasonable change of direction.

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Bax
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I hesitate to say this, as it may come across as self-righteous and pompous, if so I apologise in advance.

I wonder whether the problem is the "My ministry..." attitude. (i.e. the focus is on me, what I have achieved, what I could achieve if it wasn't for X) rather than the focus being on God (what does God call me to do in this small/depressing/whatever parish)?

Having too strong an idea of what I want to do in ministry can make the focus to much on ME (and what I clearly know what God has called ME to do), rather than taking the attitude "I'm here, I'm here to do God's work, what needs doing?"

After all, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth...?"

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:


I've known at least one cleric who said they would've said whatever was needed in order to be ordained. It worked; until that person realized that there were constraints on their ordained ministry which they didn't want to work within. They knew about them before selection and training, but they truly thought they'd be able to 'sort it out' once the 'magic' was done.

[...]

Some people think they'll love the idea of being the people's pastor - but the feeling doesn't always match the anticipation.

But if these people were already aware of the issues by already having got their hands dirty in the job, then these rather romantic assumptions wouldn't exist, would they? This is what I'm talking about.

I've read about young clergy who rail against their elders for not 'bringing the church into the modern era', for letting things slip, for clinging to the past - and then realising that they too find themselves up against brick walls, or against a clanking machinery that noone can manoeuvre except in the traditional way. This seems to be the way things go. But that just suggests that the whole system is somewhat faulty.

Anyway, this is just the way things are, so I'm just talking. I don't suppose there's much to be done about it.

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Pyx_e

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A horrific percentage of clergy are green (Insights)/Introverts (MBTI) touchy, feely, love everyone, anything for peace, quiet and keeping the family together types. So bascialy we are screwed.

Clergy are too nice, ministry is not, The gap between expectaions and reality is huge. Some never make it across.

AtB Pyx_e

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Doublethink.
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Myers-Briggs is a load of old bollocks - and if they use that in selection in any way it unlikely to be helping.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Bax:
I hesitate to say this, as it may come across as self-righteous and pompous, if so I apologise in advance.

I wonder whether the problem is the "My ministry..." attitude. (i.e. the focus is on me, what I have achieved, what I could achieve if it wasn't for X) rather than the focus being on God (what does God call me to do in this small/depressing/whatever parish)?

Having too strong an idea of what I want to do in ministry can make the focus to much on ME (and what I clearly know what God has called ME to do), rather than taking the attitude "I'm here, I'm here to do God's work, what needs doing?"

After all, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth...?"

I agree that the focus may turn upon themselves, especially if status and ego kick in.

It may be the other way around however, if they're trying to do all that needs doing, but this isn't fulfilling their calling. As I understand it, a calling isn't often the same thing as what people would choose to do for themselves, but they accept as they want to serve God.

As Jesus said to Mary & Martha, only one thing is needed? God's work for them isn't necessarily all that needs doing.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyx_e:
A horrific percentage of clergy are green (Insights)/Introverts (MBTI) touchy, feely, love everyone, anything for peace, quiet and keeping the family together types.

REALLY misunderstanding Myers-Briggs categories here.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Pyx_e

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The explain it better, just don't tear one bit down and think it's good enough.

Intorverts in the MBTI approach draw their energy from solitude. Something that you have to be very skillful to get as a clergy person, most just get stressed.

The fact stands that most clergy ar Green/ Introvert. They are too nice.

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Doublethink.
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Its still a load of old bollocks .

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyx_e:
The explain it better, just don't tear one bit down and think it's good enough.

Intorverts in the MBTI approach draw their energy from solitude. Something that you have to be very skillful to get as a clergy person, most just get stressed.

The fact stands that most clergy ar Green/ Introvert. They are too nice.

Yes, introverts draw their energy from times of solitude, but that doesn't mean they can't engage in groups, just that that needs to be offset by time alone. Actually, clergy often do have an unusual amount of solitary time during the week (working on sermon, etc.)-- especially in a smaller church w/o a large staff. As someone who falls midway on the MB scale, I sometimes find the time working alone in the office draining (and thus tend to spend far too much time chatting on the Ship), Sundays are draining for introverts, but not ordinarily excessively so.

This book, written by a friend and colleague, details the misperceptions well: Intoverts in the Church

But the rest of your comments (peace at any cost, etc.) have to do w/ methods of dealing with conflict-- not with introversion/ extroversion, which was what I was getting at in my comment. You can have extroverted "accomodaters" (which is what you are describing) and introverted tyrants, and just about every other variant. Totally different scales.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Doublethink.
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But the other subscales have next to no construct validity.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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cliffdweller
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Bit more googling I figure out you're referencing another scale that I'm not familiar with, so my comments may be off base. I was taking your comments to be a reference to Myers Briggs. Too late to edit, so once again, foot in mouth, perhaps.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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SvitlanaV2
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Apparently there are quite a few different studies into personality types and ministry, and a range of different models. It's not just Myers-Briggs.

If certain personality types predominate in the ministry, that's because the selecting bodies accept such types for training, and because such personality types are then trained and appointed, congregations come to expect such personality types to be appointed in the future, and the kind of people who consider entering the ministry probably have that kind of personality themselves, because the people they see modelling the clergy role are people like this. It's a cycle.

People who don't fit this model are less likely to experience a 'call' to the ministry, and if they do, they're probably discouraged by the reactions of other people who can't envison them in the traditional clergy role. (And who can't imagine a clergy role that's not 'traditional'.)

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Its still a load of old bollocks .

You're right. Unfortunatly our bit of the Church of England is addicted to the stuff. Its really irritating.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Bran Stark
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quote:
Originally posted by Bartolomeo:
Disappointment ensues when they realize that theologically, liturgically, evangelically, socially, and musically, their congregation is stuck in 1956.

Sounds like paradise to me. [Biased]

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IN SOVIET ЯUSSIA, SIGNATUЯE ЯEAD YOU!

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Myers-Briggs is a load of old bollocks - and if they use that in selection in any way it unlikely to be helping.

That is usually said by people who have encountered it used badly or who have little self-knowledge.
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aig
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Think² asked
quote:
Do ordinands get taught the psychology of group process ?
Maybe - it depends on the college and course. Within my college ordinands are on ~10 different pathways and my intake have ~3 hours a week when we learn as a group together. So, in those 3 hours we cover areas which are considered important; this year it has been liturgy, spirituality/ prayer,the nature of the Anglican church, preaching and work with children.
We are a diverse and articulate group: I think if we had a session on group processes we would immediately enter the storming phase and remain there for some time. The extroverts would love it, obviously, as would those who diss MBPI.
We do Ministry next term - but I am on an exchange trip to Yale, and will never find out what it is.

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That's not how we do it here.......

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Myers-Briggs is a load of old bollocks - and if they use that in selection in any way it unlikely to be helping.

That is usually said by people who have encountered it used badly or who have little self-knowledge.
Or have actually looked at the research evidence.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by aig:
Think² asked
quote:
Do ordinands get taught the psychology of group process ?
Maybe - it depends on the college and course. Within my college ordinands are on ~10 different pathways and my intake have ~3 hours a week when we learn as a group together. So, in those 3 hours we cover areas which are considered important; this year it has been liturgy, spirituality/ prayer,the nature of the Anglican church, preaching and work with children.
We are a diverse and articulate group: I think if we had a session on group processes we would immediately enter the storming phase and remain there for some time. The extroverts would love it, obviously, as would those who diss MBPI.
We do Ministry next term - but I am on an exchange trip to Yale, and will never find out what it is.

I was more thinking about how group think and compliance work. Though of course group dynamics are useful as well.

--------------------
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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aig
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This isn't taught, although, if our group is representative of C of E clergy, the chance of our developing groupthink seems slight. The image of herding cats is probably more accurate.
I suspect one person has had training in this, however, as he prefixes every question with the words 'May I play devil's advocate?'
Compliance is a different issue - we are like Pavlov's dogs - reacting instantly to bells and tapping, provided it is grouped in threes...

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That's not how we do it here.......

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:


I've known at least one cleric who said they would've said whatever was needed in order to be ordained. It worked; until that person realized that there were constraints on their ordained ministry which they didn't want to work within. They knew about them before selection and training, but they truly thought they'd be able to 'sort it out' once the 'magic' was done.

[...]

Some people think they'll love the idea of being the people's pastor - but the feeling doesn't always match the anticipation.

But if these people were already aware of the issues by already having got their hands dirty in the job, then these rather romantic assumptions wouldn't exist, would they? This is what I'm talking about.


Well, the case I quoted - and I know there are others - is about people who really think they're the exception to the rule. It's about people ignoring what they're being told and taught because as Bax says they are focussed on 'my' ministry. The person I was thinking of spoke all the time about 'my' ministry to such an extent, it threatened relationships with colleagues and proved a barrier to any kind of rational discussion. I'm afraid that person's individual ministry ended rather badly, and I'm afraid - in that case - it could not be laid - at least entirely - at the door of the diocese or the Church. For this person, it wasn't about 'romantic' notions, it was about this person's individual notions, in the face of what they were being taught and told.

I think we do have to accept that in a few instances - hopefully just a few? - there are some people so determined to fulfil their own wishes, nothing else matters. It happens in other professions, the clergy is no exception.

However, having said that, I still stand by what I said that most disappointment with clerical work is maybe related to how it 'feels' in reality; compared to the anticipation of what it would be like. A romantic notion only becomes merely 'romantic' when it's proved to be unrealistic, after all. And I guess a lot of that is about how to sustain oneself through difficult or dry periods of ministry or doubt.

A bit like marriage maybe? Do you give up because you have a massive disagreement with the spouse, or find out he's not all he's cracked up to be; or he's harder work than you thought, or less rewarding? Is it worth persevering, cutting one's losses?

There would be bound, also, to be the cases where selectors recommend someone who they perceive is suited for training for ordained ministry, but who won't two or three years later actually make a good priest. But I think the processes and the people probably do the best they can.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by aig:
This isn't taught, although, if our group is representative of C of E clergy, the chance of our developing groupthink seems slight. The image of herding cats is probably more accurate.
I suspect one person has had training in this, however, as he prefixes every question with the words 'May I play devil's advocate?'
Compliance is a different issue - we are like Pavlov's dogs - reacting instantly to bells and tapping, provided it is grouped in threes...

'Triads'! We did this a fair bit, mostly in listening skills exercises, however.

We did do the Belbin thing, too - as well as Myers-Briggs. Belbin was about group dynamics and the advantages of balancing complementary personalities in teams.

In a perfect world maybe. [Smile]

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
In my opinion parish ministry where there is one priest helped by a few Lay ministers or Lay Pastoral Ministers is totally outdated.

Team ministry with larger churches is where it will be at in the future IMO.

Training is still based on the old model...which leads to inevitable disappointment and discouragement.

Well, I can't speak for Australia, of course - but all my clergy training was about collaboration - teams, groups, integration of lay and ordained etc. And I understood that that was very much the CofE approach in general? Most Teams, eg, couldn't exist without that approach. However, it's not about teams with larger churches - it's teams with larger numbers of churches which can be a problem in itself.

I was thinking of one large church with four or five lay or ordained (would have to have at least a couple ordained if it's Anglican) full time paid ministers.

We have collaboration here between parishes through things like Deaneries. But that's different from a larger team of full time, paid, trained ministers in one parish.

Can't help but think the whole "working on your own in a dying culture" thing is doomed to fail.

Reckon you need the support of other leaders (and the ability to cover the entire range of ministries required in any one community) to get anywhere.

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a theological scrapbook

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Myers-Briggs is a load of old bollocks - and if they use that in selection in any way it unlikely to be helping.

That is usually said by people who have encountered it used badly or who have little self-knowledge.
That is an arrogant and elitist personal insult, which ought to have been made in Hell, not here where we'd be kicked off for answering it in kind.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
I was thinking of one large church with four or five lay or ordained (would have to have at least a couple ordained if it's Anglican) full time paid ministers.

The CofE doesn't much go for megachurches, we much prefer the local parish.

There are cathedrals like that of course and a few famous "shrines" (both high-church and evangelical).

Our "team" has three churches in two parishes. There are two full-time ordained ministers and a training curate.

There are three other ordained clergy (two retired and one who works elsewhere) and four readers, but all unpaid of course.

That's probably quite typical for a large urban parish - and by CofE standards we are large, maybe 150 regular Sunday attenders in one church and 50 in another.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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