Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Catholics ask the same questions...

When I worked at OC Books, one of the New Zealand authors we stocked was Neil Darragh, so it was good to come across him again in a different context, this time as the speaker at the Pompallier Lecture for 2009. Neil is a Catholic priest, so his focus is on the Catholic Church in New Zealand. Nevertheless, there's a great deal to be learned from his lecture, whatever denomination you may be in.

The title of his lecture is: Where to from here? A present and future church, and in it Neil asks firstly, What is the church for, and secondly, How should we arrange ourselves so as to achieve this?

He follows these questions by expanding on them: The ordering of these two parts in important. It is based on the principle that missiology comes before ecclesiology. We need to know first what the church is for. On that basis we can work out what kind of church we need to be in order to get there. This principle is particularly important for people in the church whose involvement includes leadership or planning. Leaders run the risk of devising plans for a well-resourced and well-oiled church that isn’t actually doing anything except looking after itself. The dog is chasing its tail.

If this sounds at all ought!

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