by Eric Dunigan, PNS
Twenty years ago, the ideal candidate for a church-planting pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was a 34-year-old married male with two kids or more, a dog and a mortgage. He was a charismatic leader who could draw people to himself, according to research done at the time.
“That’s not necessarily the only person we are looking for anymore with this generation,” said Craig Williams, associate for the PC(USA)’s Western Office of New Church Development. “We need people that have gifts in teambuilding, in community development and that not only have vision but are able to translate that vision so that others can articulate it as well.”
Planters still need to be able to articulate vision, but rather than it just being his or her own vision, leaders need to listen to and discern the community’s vision.
“The challenge for us in planting these new communities is how do we find more people who are willing to direct, assist, encourage and hold the vision — yet not make it about them?” Williams said.
There is also a shift away from a hierarchical model, consistent with a Reformed understanding of the priesthood of all believers.
“In some ways our culture as Presbyterians is well-suited for this shift — as long as we are not regulatory,” Williams said. “In the past we have seen ourselves as regulatory rather than mission agencies, not to encourage the mission of the church but God’s mission in the church.”
Click here to read the rest of the article.