Recently Read: Doing and Discipling

Clergy Effectiveness in the United Methodist ChurchDan Dick, who is the Director of Connectional Ministries at the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church, shares some findings from his prior work as a researcher for the General Board of Discipleship on “clergy effectiveness.”

Okay, so my seven measures of clergy effectiveness:

  1. How many laity are you training and equipping to preach and lead others in worship, and what process do you use to evaluate their progress? (List those being trained/equipped by name)
  2. How many laity are you training and equipping to teach, and what process do you use to evaluate their progress? (List by name)
  3. How many laity are you training and equipping to share their faith story with those outside the congregation, and what process do you use to evaluate their progress?  (List by name)
  4. What is your process for discovering, developing and deploying the spiritual gifts, theological knowledge and thinking, and servant leadership of the laity in the congregation?
  5. What is your process for training and equipping laity to engage in missional service, healing ministries, and outreach within the congregation, in the community, and beyond, and how do you evaluate effectiveness?
  6. Describe your personal plan and process for spiritual development, continuing education, and skill development, and update your progress in each area.
  7. Describe your personal devotional life — worship that you have no responsibility to lead, prayer apart from vocational leadership responsibility, Christian/mission service beyond your appointment, sacramental engagement where you do not preside, etc.

The response to sharing of these measures of clergy effectiveness were not met with overwhelming support. Not in the least. It does bring up some wider questions.

Definitely, the list and the responses reflect two VERY different value sets and orientations.  There is a significant difference between “doing for” and “equipping, empowering and enabling” others to do for themselves.  There is also a huge difference between “activity” and “performance.”  The United Methodist Church has long confused being busy with being productive.  We cannot seem to differentiate between quantity and quality.  More programs, more people, more small groups, more money are our default settings for “effectiveness.”  Yet, with few exceptions, quantity is very rarely a true cause of effectiveness.  We often confuse this truth by comparing healthy large churches to dysfunctional small churches, but study after study shows that when you compare the impact of healthy-to-healthy, small churches come out on top.  Ten healthy churches of 300 are more effective in every metric but overhead costs than any healthy church of 3,000.  We are a people of the lie: bigger is better.

Read Dan’s full synopsis at his blog article. Doing and Discipling.

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Check out the history of the umc, Dan Dick!! Decades ago the hierarchy of the umc decided they wanted the folks in the pews to sit with folded hands and follow blindly and pay their tithe so that the liberal/progressive boards could be financed, progressive programs could grow, and all the phylacteries of their respective offices be purchased and bestowed. After all, a Father/Son/Holy Sprit FILLED laity would be a threat to their well-being……..

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