After a variety of conversations in the past week, culminating with a very good chat with a friend earlier today, I find myself thinking about how we as a Church should take on 'good management practice' - and from that thinking about what is 'good management practice' and just how much can be applied to Church.
There is various talk about 360 degree review, performance reviews, accountability, strategy, communication of ideass & activities. Lots of talk about how we can do what we do better, and what new things we should be embarking upon. Its quite exciting and dynamic talk, and likely to translate into some quite exciting and dynamic action - but I still maintain a certain wariness about what it means to apply business models to the life of a Church/Parish/Team/Clergyperson.
I, as previously stated on these pages, have no problem at all about accountability - in fact i think it is something that the Church needs to address on the whole - but i do have problems with systems that cannot take account of what it means to be in ministry and to have the particular tasks that ministers have. I can give a summary of my week that says I roughly spend 10-15 hours in preparation and execution of worship duties, 5 hours weekly on phone calls, 10-15 hours on visiting, 4 hours on admin, 10-15 hours on meetings, 2 hours on schools ministry and amongst that fit in a few diocesan commitments and some reading and some prayers but being asked to justify all of that might be a more difficult proposition - of what value is it (at least in 'Churchy' terms) when i spend an hour with someone who will probably never darken the doors of a Church but who was probably glad of the company? In fact the set meetings which every seems to think are important seem to me much less crucial for my sharing of ministry and my calling to the mission of the Church!
Bit of a rant there, or rather a 'typing without planning' moment - again, am challenged by the need to communicate something of what i do, but wary of the 'justification by ministry' approach - concerned with numbers and timings and admin and business.
Am about to embark on more careful thought in this department, have had recommended to me 'The Purpose Driven Church' - as much to decide what I do agree on as not! Also interested in the ongoing 'Emergent Conversation' that offers plenty of ways to re-think this issue of institution, ministry, Church etc etc. Will also revisit some of the material I read when originally looking at 'Mission and Management' way back in my MA days. This may not be the last i write on this, and hopefully next time there will be some more solid Theological reflection.
Time to get on with Vicar stuff now, i think, preparing for worship tomorrow.