The New Context for Ministry: The Impact of the New Economy on Your Church [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Lyle E. Schaller
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: With the attention to appropriate and telling details for which he is famous, Lyle Schaller begins this book by pointing out an overlapping set of changes that have taken place in American society and American churches in recent years. First, to the traditional economic activities of gathering commodities and producing and selling goods and services, the economy has added the production and distribution of knowledge and the creation and sale of experiences. Second has been the rise of consumerism, an increase in the power of consumers at the expense of producers of goods and services. Third is the extraordinary number of individuals in North American society with considerable amounts of discretionary income. What does this mean to you and your church? Simply this, says Schaller: old patterns of fund-raising and old assumptions about stewardship will no longer work. Charitable giving today is based on a complex set of factors, including the growing opinion that it is the giver, rather than the receiving institution, that should have full and final control of how the gift is appropriated. In this informative guide to fund-raising in the new economy, Schaller helps the reader navigate through the difficulties and opportunities for churches in this new age of charitable giving.
eBook Publisher: United Methodist Publishing House/Abingdon Press, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2003
From Black Tuesday to Black Tuesday
An American legend that has inspired hundreds of cartoons describes how wealthy Americans committed suicide by jumping out of skyscrapers following the crash of the stock market that began on Tuesday, October 29, 1929.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, an unknown number of Americans intentionally jumped to certain death from the top floors of buildings in New York City.
Those two Black Tuesdays can be used as bookends to describe an unprecedented series of changes on the world scene. Those two Tuesdays also illustrate several of the changes in the context for ministry. Taken together, these changes have transformed the rules for religious organizations in the United States. A simple analogy is the young golfer of 1929 who has a grandchild who enjoys playing tennis today. Both games are played with a small round ball. Both require the player to hit that ball with a handheld device. Both require considerable stamina and a high level of skill. Both promise that practice will improve performance. Both count points to keep score. Both produce winners and losers. Both are highly competitive games. Both evoke feelings of frustration and even anger. Both sports assume that honesty, integrity, and courtesy are central components of good sportsmanship. Today both sports are enjoyed by women as well as by men. Once upon a time players in both sports wore distinctive clothing. Both have shoes that carry the name of that sport. Both can be viewed on television. Until recently, most of the championship professionals in both sports came from Great Britain or North America.
Despite these and many other similarities, golf and tennis are radically different sports. The players use different rulebooks. With a few exceptions, such as "Practice, practice, practice!" "Keep your eye on the ball!" and "Exercise, exercise, exercise!" the advice of the golfer of 1929 to today's tennis-playing grandchild has little relevance. These are two different games played with two different rulebooks.
Likewise the role and responsibilities of the parish pastor or the congregational leader or the denominational official of today are similar in several respects, but radically different in other ways, from their counterparts of the 1920s. The book is the same, but the channels for proclaiming the message of that book have multiplied. The message is the same, but the listeners of the 1920s have been replaced by new generations. The equipment for doing ministry today is far superior to what was available in 1929. In golf the balls are still round, but their composition has changed, as have tennis rackets and golf clubs. The level of performance has been raised. The best golfers and tennis players of 1929 would have difficulty if they were competing against the cream of today's players in those two sports.
The central thesis of this book is that the new American economy, which was interrupted but not derailed by the events of 9-11-01, and the new American Protestant ecclesiastical culture, which began to be visible in the 1960s, have transformed the roles and responsibilities of parish pastors, congregational leaders, denominational officials, and the staff of parachurch organizations. This new American economy and the new American religious culture have created a need to replace the old playbook on "How to do church" with a new playbook. This book is intended to offer suggestions on how to write a customized playbook for your congregation or your denomination or your parachurch organization. (The leaders of these parachurch organizations have become the third player in that foursome playing golf together. They are replacing the professional educators as influential voices in this new game. The other players, of course, are parish pastors, congregational leaders -- who formerly were the fourth member of that foursome and now are second -- and denominational officials.)
Neither the church nor the economy exists in a vacuum, however; therefore, it may be helpful to back off and look at the larger context. What happened between that Black Tuesday in 1929 and that Black Tuesday in 2001? One answer is, Those seven decades changed the role and responsibilities of the United States Secretary of State. In December 1941, Secretary of State Cordell Hull's responsibilities focused on declarations of war with three nations -- Japan, Germany, and Italy. Secretary of State Colin Powell in the fall of 2001 focused on building an international coalition against faceless terrorism that is not confined by national boundaries.
In broader terms a half dozen changes stand out for this discussion. Each of these changes also has made an impact on the American ecclesiastical culture.
Copyright © 2002 by Abingdon Press