Professional Development and Church

I was rifling through this weekend’s mail when I ran across the most recent newsletter/mailer from a denominational organization of which I’ve been somehow connected for a long time. There’s a state meeting coming up in less than a month and then the national meeting/convention/assembly this summer. Both were prominently displayed.

I like conferences/workshops/professional development opportunities so I thought I’d check out the planned events. There was basically the usual type of list of options–only a few of which appealed to me. Most of them related to social justice kinds of issues. Shocking, I know.

As I kept turning pages to see what else was going on in the life of this organization, I came across a racial reconciliation workshop (a very good thing) separate from the events mentioned above…and a seminar on governance for church. Topics to be covered include policies, decision-making, defining clear roles and authority, and basically having a positive business model for your church.

And my stomach churned.

Certainly, I have been part of many congregations who function as businesses. And many of them do reasonably well with that model. However, the further I get from that model and the more I hang out at my church–which in no way operates as a business–I can no longer fathom churches operating as businesses. Mainly because I can’t stand the idea of faith and spirituality as commodities to be bought and sold.

Church is a body of people who recognize their place within that particular body. If an individual doesn’t fit in one place, he or she should move on until finding the right fit. This is not a numbers game. This is about developing unique communities of faith who are healthy and function in a way that brings peace, justice and love to the here and now. THAT’S how you stop micromanaging, how you define roles and make decisions. And you don’t need a seminar for that.


2 thoughts on “Professional Development and Church

  1. Very well said. I for no reason considered I would agree with this thoughts and opinions, however I’m starting to view things from a different view. I have got to research much more on that as it would seem really exciting. One issue I don’t understand though is how almost everything is associated together.

  2. If I had to guess, they are wanting to teach pastors and other church leaders stuff like “If you ever expect to see a visitor, it’s really important to have plenty of parking and clean bathrooms; visitors should be able to park and they deserve clean bathrooms.”

    After having served a buncha churches that in NO way could be motivated to do anything for anyone other than themselves, I can see how they should be educated about some of the basics of hospitality. And I think some denominational officials and organizers think of stuff like that as “business model” rather than “VIRTUES a church should have” which is what it really is.

    The part the organizers are missing is the fact that they are implying moneyed visitors by calling it a business model, which of course is antithetical to the virtue of hospitality.

    So of course they will all go straight to hell.

    /stops to belly laugh/

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