I’ve wondered about the connection between the missional Church and denominations quite a bit, so yesterday when I stumbled across this advice from Tim Keller on DJ Chuang’s blog I decided I needed to share it. He doesn’t mention Methodism as one of the historic traditions, but I’d include it in there. What I love here is his recognition that we can work within flawed structures to accomplish something far greater than denominational politics and agendas. Most of the pastors I know having a significant impact seem to really be taking this advice already.
I wonder where you’d go to find a truly missional denomination? I don’t know of any. For missionally minded churches, any denominational connection will bring you into relationship with some other churches and ministers who downright embarass you. This will be true of any ecclesiastical body with more than 5 churches in it. I don’t think that going independent and only staying connected in to a missional ‘network’–which has no disciplinary authority–is the answer either.
My counsel: 1) inhabit a denomination with a historic tradition you admire (Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist) 2) stay in a denomination if it gives you space to follow your calling, 3) don’t be marginal to it–be active in the denomination, but 4) don’t be too absorbed in all its workings and especially not in its politics
5 thoughts on “Denominations & Missional Ministry”
I like his ideas and hope I follow his advice. Of course, right now, I see most of the big political fights in the UMC as basically pointless. When guarenteed appointment or ordination issues (stuff i care about) start dividing people, it’s gonna be a lot tougher to stay out of the politics. We’ll see what happens.
You know, for someone who forgot to put Methodist on the list, Keller’s advice sure sounds a lot like what Wesley did in the Church of England.
I wonder if Keller is saying Methodism is not a tradition worthy of admiration?
Just trying to stir up trouble.
His advice – like much of his writing – is helpful.
Matt – Thank you for sharing this morsel. It is sound advice