Sunday, July 12, 2015

Priest or Leader?

Interesting article by Graham Tomlin in the Church Times about balancing the two words 'priest' and 'leader'.

It is well argued with the suggestion at its conclusion that '...priestly leaders are those whose one goal is the blessing and flourishing of those in their care.' Well amen to that.

But what about anyone who feels their call is to one or the other? Is there any other way forward than squaring the circle?

Of course there is, but it requires a change of heart and mind.

For those, often but not exclusively, evangelicals who want to lead I say, why not? Get leading. Your view of priesthood is functional not ontological. What you need is to be able to appoint, and indeed anoint, local priests who can preside, forgive and bless. You can still exercise a prophetic ministry (although so can anyone in the church). But then you will not be side-tracked by the need to scrub around for eucharistic cover when you have a weekend off. You need permission to have an order of Levites.

For those who want to exercise a solely priestly ministry the answer is nearer at hand. You need to be a priest and allow your church leaders (Wardens in the C of E) to lead. If you want to block any of the things they want to do then you are more of a leader than you think you are.

There is usually, within the church, a simple, answer and a complex one. But we never reach for the simple one.

1 comment:

Mike Peatman said...

As someone who went into ordained ministry from a functional / leadership perspective, 7 years as a college/uni chaplain raised some interesting questions. I wasn't a leader of a church - our congregation was high turnover and seasonal. However, I was a symbolic presence in the community, and people still relate to me now, due to the connections I made then. That sounds more like the priestly presence model, although I ended up fulfilling it by accident.