Article 6 of 9 on the Diocesan Mission
Article 7 is Diocesan Mission Policy 4: Reform
Over the last few weeks, I have been outlining the four policies of the Diocesan Mission.
This week we look at the third policy of the mission: –
To multiply the number of well-trained persons (ordained, lay, full time, part time, voluntary) lovingly dedicated to the creation and development of such parishes, congregations and fellowships by proclaiming the gospel.
If we are to see an increase in the number of churches and congregations that I wrote of last week, then we will need an increased number of ministers of the word. Such an increase in ministers would be the consequence of growth in church life.
More importantly we need an increase in the ministry of the word in order to see a growth in church life. For faith comes from hearing the word of God and it is by the preaching of the Gospel that the church comes into being and new partners join.
As ministry of the gospel increases the number of people in churches (as well as increasing the number of new churches), it is important that we start with recruiting and training people in ministry. The ministry of the word requires training, so there is a time delay between recruiting people into ministry and the effect of their ministry.
So this third policy is of utmost urgency as well as importance.
The policy is not limited in any way to ordained ministry or even to paid full-time ministry. What it looks forward to is increasing the number of well-trained persons be they lay or ordained, full time part time or voluntary. It is the movement of people from being members of the church to partners in the gospel, from being passengers to being active participants. And the key step is training.
These well trained gospel partners will be lovingly dedicated to their work for the gospel ministry requires both love and commitment. We are to care for the lost and for the church of Jesus. Paul likened himself to a nursing mother and a caring father when he described his relationship with the Thessalonians. But faithfulness is also a key characteristic of gospel ministry. So Paul told Timothy to entrust the gospel to faithful men who will be able to teach others.
These ministers of the gospel will be seeking to develop the kind of church planting congregations and network fellowships that I wrote of last week.
It is to fulfil this policy that I have been away at Club 5 and Club 50 conferences over the last few weeks. I will be at a couple more at the end of this month and the long weekend in October. It is exciting to see so many people earnestly looking to how they can be trained in ministry.
Here in the Cathedral, we too must look at how we can best train ourselves in gospel ministry to utilise the opportunities we have here to proclaim the gospel of Christ. In the coming months I am planning to introduce some training programs that will enable us to move from membership of the Cathedral to active partnership in the gospel. Exciting times lie ahead for us in this work.