When Ministers are Asked to Underperform

Recently I was talking with some Episcopalian friends of mine about the rather vacuous, primer-like articles that their bishop (Diocese of East Tennessee’s Charles von Rosenberg) had written (and had been spread around the Anglican world by Kendall Harmon) in anticipation of and in the wake of the Lambeth 2008 conference.

Needless to say, they were not pleased that the uninspiring reality of their bishop’s musings had been spread abroad by the Canon Theologian of South Carolina.

But then they came up with this: a friend of their son’s had started as a deacon at another parish. His instructions were to “underperform” so as to make the laity do more of the work.

Working in a church as I do, I know there are underperforming ministers out there. But to make that a minister’s mission is a new one on me. I’m all for the laity doing the work, but everyone in the church needs to do their best. If a minister needs to underperform to help the laity, maybe the laity needs to take on the work on a regular time basis and invest the church’s income in something else than more staff…

Leave it to the Episcopal Church to break new ground in this way…

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