funny … because I was talking about the way I’m using slides nowadays.
Romero’s insight is beautifully highlighted here by Brian. Good supper before I sleep.
“DOOR: While we’re on a roll here with controversial topics, let’s talk megachurch. So, how do you measure success as a pastor in a world filled with megachurch ministers?
MCLAREN: That is so worth talking about. One of the unintended negative consequences of the megachurch movement in the last 30 years is that there are a thousand people my age who have been fantastic heroic pastors of churches of anywhere between 50 to 350 people and they feel like dirt because they didn’t have 5,000 people. There is this pervasive assumption that significance is only related to size. So many pastors are doing wonderful things, but unless the numbers are big, they are made to feel—or allow themselves to feel—basically worthless. You can have a big church, thousands of people, and still miss the point.
DOOR: Which is?
MCLAREN: There is this poem that I read to myself every couple months by Oscar Romero. I think it’s called “A Future Not Our Own.” Basically the idea of the poem is that the work of God’s kingdom always goes beyond one lifetime. So we never see the full results of what we do. We make this contribution to something that we can’t fully grasp, and the harvest of the seeds we plant is always beyond us. Ministry in this light becomes less an act of strategy and more an act of faith. There is something humbling to that.”
I liked his personal anecdote. I like laughing.
“During my training for the ministry I was leading morning worship at Mansfield College, Oxford. Lesslie Newbigin was present, so I wanted to be word perfect. The Old Testament lesson, from I Samuel 14, was about Saul slaughtering the Philistines. I came to verse 15, which reads: “There was a panic in the camp.” But this idiot read: “There was a picnic in the camp.” As I prayed for the earth to open, all eyes turned to the great man. How would he respond? He laughed, of course!
An abridged paper written by a funny father who’s touches on serious matters.