Showing posts from April, 2014

Ministry is a gift

The Relational Pastor, part 10For other posts in this series, click on a number: 12345678, 9, 1112131415.
This is the tenth post in a series that explores Andrew Root's book, The Relational Pastor. Last time we looked at moving beyond ministry models to sharing in the reality of Jesus' continuing personal ministry. This time we'll note how Root views this sharing as a gift from God:
Ministry is the gift given to us by God to share in God's life, to participate in God's action as we share in the person of others. Ministry is the gift of being a person, to dwell in doubt, fear and need, inviting others to indwell us as we indwell them. Ministry is God's gift to us, the gift of leading others in sharing in the life of God (p125).  It's easy to lose sight of the reality by getting caught up in the "stuff" of ministry. And so we need the "40,000-foot overview" that Root provides. He reminds us that ministry is not ours--…

Incarnational Ministry? (moving beyond models to reality)

The Relational Pastor, part 9For other posts in this series, click on a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415.
This post, the ninth in a series exploring The Relational Pastor, looks at Andrew Root's concerns about ministry models in general, and one known as "incarnational ministry" in particular. Those who advocate incarnational ministry speak of "incarnating ourselves into people's lives," and "being Jesus with skin on." Though these concepts are admirable in many ways, they reflect (likely unwittingly) a common, though flawed concept that the incarnation was a temporary strategy--a means God used toward a particular end, namely, our salvation.

But the incarnation was no mere strategy and certainly was not temporary. The reality is that the Son of God permanently added our humanity to his divinity, becoming Immanuel (God with us, Matt 1:23) forever. The personal union thus forged between God and humanity in the incarnate person…

Empathy: the incarnate reality of place sharing

The Relational Pastor, part 8For other posts in this series, click on a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 1112, 13, 1415.
In part 7 of this series exploring The Relational Pastorby Andrew Root, we noted that Jesus' place sharing ministry is the outworking of his indwelling of humanity. This incarnational ministry of Jesus then points to our own, for we are called as Christians to participate with Jesus in his ongoing place sharing ministry. Our participation is fundamentally relational, because the triune God, who is relational, has created us in his relational image. As Root likes to say, "We are our relationships." It follows that relationship is the principal "location" where Jesus' ministry and thus ours occurs. This being so, a key characteristic of effective pastors is the personal quality that we refer to as empathy. Here is Root's definition:
[Empathy is] the experience of feeling (often involuntarily) the very relationships that make a pe…

Place sharing: the outworking of indwelling

The Relational Pastor, part 7For other posts in this series, click on a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 1112, 13, 1415.

In part 6 of this series exploring The Relational Pastor, we concluded with Andrew Root's observation that ministry finds its "lifeblood" in the reality of personhood. Ministry is life-giving when it is authentic participation in the place sharing ministry of Jesus, who as our High Priest, is relating to human persons as we truly are: beings-in-relationship.

Root expands on this important concept by noting that place sharing is the outworking of indwelling. In explaining what this means, he asks a rhetorical question: "How could there possibly be something called ministry that violates or ignores the dynamic spiritual mystery of personal indwelling?" In answering, Root offers this comment:
To be ministered to is to have another person see our person and indwell it, to share with us as we bury our sister, as we fight for one more day of…