Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Creative Ministry

I have just read Henri Nouwen's "Creative Ministry" in which he explores what he identifies as the five primary responsibilities of the priest or minister. He names them as teaching, preaching, pastoral care, organising and celebrating. These are what a minister should bring to the community that is the church and they are closely tied to the minister's own spiritual life, though Nouwen also stresses that there is a sense in which these are the call of every Christian.

I particularly like some of what he says about celebration which, in a sense, can sum up the others - "Celebration can only really come about where fear and love, joy and sorrow, tears and smiles can exist together. Celebration is the acceptance of life in a constantly increasing awareness of its preciousness."

Nouwen emphasises the servant nature of ministry. "It calls for Christians who are willing to develop their sensitivity to God's presence in their own lives, as well as in the lives of others, and to offer their experiences as a way of recognition and liberation ...  It calls for ministers in the true sense, who lay down their own lives for their friends, helping them to distinguish between the constructive and the destructive spirits and making them free for the discovery of God's life-giving Spirit in the midst of this maddening world. It calls for creative weakness."

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