Minnesota acts with courage to face realities

The Diocese of Minnesota has just published a report by the Bishop's Commission on Mission Strategy. Stand Firm noted this on their blog. Thanks to them we are encouraged to read the whole thing. In this case SF is right.

The Diocese is looking at the future with the serious intention to recast itself by spiritual transformation.

This is a remarkably good report, hopeful as only a resurrection community can envision hope. It is also a courageous document, facing the hard realities of death, always a prerequisite to resurrection.

The whole report can be read HERE.

While you are at it, look at the Diocese web site itself...a crisp and attractive site.


  1. it is a very interesting document.

    i'm reading it first with a look for who is being protected by it. and the answer seems to be, unsurprisingly, congregations. the document is big on parishes, parishes are great, parishes are wonderful, we love parishes.

    i am less and less confident that parishes are where it's at. but bishops and diocesan conventions love parishes, and so they say things like "parishes are where the work is done", and so forth.

    only, when it's not getting done....what then?

  2. There is much to commend in this document, I think.

    But also much to wish for more of.

    One of those things is some substantially clearer commitment to helping every member/disciple learn how to function as a missionary in his or her relational contexts. This gets mentioned specifically once-- in a single sentence referring to lay leaders in section 7.1, and then goes on to talk about networking these individual persons across several congregations. The work Wayne Schwab is offering a glimpse of online at membermission.org would be a helpful start in this direction-- but the report seems not to be aware of this kind of thing in any depth.

    The greater commitment to Total Ministry as a model for leadership appears to be positive as well.

    I agree with Thomas that assuming the answer is simply or even primarily in congregations is itself problematic. It seems to me that there are at least three systems to think about here-- missional groups (which may include people inside and outside of existing congregations), congregations themselves, and the diocesan structures. Each of these has specific institutional forms and purposes-- and it seems to me that there is a sort of letting go of any real diocesan level role apart from tending money... and I'm not sure that's the most helpful possible arrangement.

    Why are congregations alone or even "equipping" or "empowering" congregations or even clusters of them not the answer? Well, frankly, because congregational cultures themselves are simply not missional structures at this point.

    This appears to be a significant statement in many ways. My regret at this point is that it appears to be more incremental than radical in the kinds of changes it proposes.

  3. I think it is a good document as far as it goes.

    What I think is happening, and the structures of the church do not seem to get it, is the arrival of a cellular church. When I think of, 'church' I am thinking as much of the home bible study group my wife and I are in, as I am of the building, major services etc.

    The evangelicals are ahead of us here. The 'mega church' which we tend to decry is based on the idea of a central hub, lots of smaller 'ministries' and it has worked in a lot of ways.

    I am not suggesting that we emulate the mega church, we do not have to. We have something, the bishop's office if we but use it.

    The early church, which also was surrounded by a secular society, learned to come together in the ministry of the bishop while doing most things locally. We need, in you will, a lot more deacons, and a lot fewer priests / rectors. Exploring that model, which it appears Minnesota is bravely begining will lead to a new way of thinking 'church.'



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Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.