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Titles, Jogging, and Seminary… but not all at the same time

Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in blog links, discipleship | 8 comments

Titles, Jogging, and Seminary… but not all at the same time

There have been some really good blog posts published lately. And, these posts have covered the gamut of topics related to the church and ecclesiology – related to our relationships with one another in Jesus Christ (that’s what the church is, after all).

In this post, I want to point to three of those really good blog posts, on the topics of 1) titles and positions of authority, 2) jogging with others, and 3) seminary (of all things).

First, Gibby wrote a post called “titles, positions and authority.” In this post, he tells the story of talking with someone who has the position of “senior pastor” in a local church organization. Gibby asked him if he’d be willing to set aside his title if it meant people “would discover the kingdom of God, live a missional and incarnational life in order for them to discover that Jesus is the Head of the church”? The man’s answer was, “No.” You can read more of the story in Gibby’s post.

While it’s easy for some of us to cast stones as this man, this story should make us think about ourselves. No, we may not have the title of “senior pastor” (or perhaps we do), but what if we’re known as a great teacher or a prophet or an evangelist? What if we have a “position” of respect and leadership among the church (even if it’s not an organizational or hierarchical position). Would you be willing to give it all up if it meant that other people would benefit?

Also, for many believers, it’s difficult for them to separate the “title” and “position” from the function. You see, I know and you know that you don’t have to have a title (like “senior pastor”) in order to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, to teach and encourage other believers, or to shepherd those people who God brings into your life. But, for others, the title/position and functions go together.

Second, Jon at “Jon’s Journey” wrote a post called “Jogging with Others.” I hope you take the time to read this post, and I hope that you recognize that it’s not really about jogging. (Although, I – for one – actually do love jogging with others.)

Can I say something that may seem very radical to some? You may personally have an awesome and close relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. But, God did not create you for that personal experience. He created you to walk with him AND others at the same time. If all you have is your personal experience with God, then you’re missing something important that God has in store for you. That “something” will come through other children of God as you share your lives together.

Finally, Scot at “Jesus Creed” wrote a post called “Seminary Life Today 2.” Most of the post is taken up by a large infographic from another site. I’ll just share the first two sentences of Scot’s summary: “81% of all incoming seminary students do not expect to have a parish ministry position. Less than half of all incoming students plan to be ordained.”

This was my experience in seminary as well. Of the students who I knew in seminary, very very few of them are planning to take part in “ministry” the way it’s traditionally defined. (However, all of them are heavily involved in ministering to – serving – others in Jesus’ name.)

So, there ya go… titles, jogging, and seminary.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on one, two, or all three of these subjects.


8 Comments

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  1. 3-8-2013

    A thought about topic number 2. While I understand in our US culture, for the most part folks connect with other folks in the course of daily life. However, looking back in time, obviously if you were a shepherd minding a flock…that would not be the case. Gathering together would not necessary be something you scheduled into your week or month during certain seasons. Also there are those who through no fault of their own are isolated from others through illness and disease, even age or occupation…the Christian pastor in prison in Iran right now. So I have to defend in measure the importance of our very personal relationship with our Lord. I think it is not to be dismissed as inferior to the collective experience. Jesus left the 99 and went looking for the one lost sheep. He carried that sheep back to the fold no doubt, however, there are seasons of personal relationship with our Lord that play a very important role in our overall health and relationship to the body of Christ.

  2. 3-8-2013

    Great topics. Have not perused the entire website. Do you have blog or topic as to Biblical Discipleship in NT and today’s view/model? Or something along the lines of… What does biblical discipleship look like in the NT as compared to our view now.

  3. 3-8-2013

    Thanks for the shout out.

  4. 3-11-2013

    Rita,

    While I don’t know him personally, I’m guessing that the Iranian pastor in prison would admit that he’s missing something by not being able to spend time with other believers. Yes, there are extreme cases in which believers are forced into isolation. Today, though, these cases are even more rare.

    Vince,

    I’ve written several posts on discipleship. In short, I think discipleship is helping one another follow Jesus. In the NT, discipleship is more mutual (one another), more relational, and more personal that we often see it demonstrated today.

    Gibby,

    Thanks for the great post!

    -Alan

  5. 3-11-2013

    Thanks Alan. I feel the same way. Why do you think it is not demonstrated today as it really should be? I find at times… our priorities are mixed up. Yet, do you have more specific thoughts on this? I think this is a great topic of discussion for today’s church.

  6. 3-11-2013

    Vince,

    I don’t know. I know there was a move in the 1600s toward relational discipleship, but the Magisterial Reformers opposed them (physically and to the death), and continued the practice of the priesthood of the few educated vocational ministers. This is the basis of much that we call discipleship today.

    -Alan

  7. 3-11-2013

    Wow! Intense and ouch! Thanks.

  8. 3-11-2013

    Actually, would it not be cool to start or build a network around ‘building disciples’. I would not know where or how to begin? On top of that my family and I just moved to Rock Hill, SC.