Skip to content

Keeping the Faith

December 4, 2006

I’m just a little frustrated at the moment.Bozobopbig

The project I have been working on for nearly 7 years now is one of the most exciting urban regeneration projects about at the moment (imho). The fact that it has a spiritual heart to it makes it even more significant for me and for those I work with. We love it.

Under the cast of those 7 years there have been times of anger and frustration, mostly with the slow pace of development, mostly with government agencies, who are committed (I believe) to funding the Skainos Project to a significant extent, (they’re just taking their time over it). But I understand that, though it doesn’t make it any easier to cope with. After all, the money they will spend is ‘our’ money. The taxpayers. So we need to ensure that everything stacks up and that we, and they, can justify what will be a multi-million pound investment.

What I REALLY struggle with is the caution of the denomination. Once again I understand the importance of having good governance. After all, there are ordained ministers and their families who are sort of employed by the church. There is the heritage of hundreds of years to protect. All very important. And I’m glad there are those with a fine grasp of detail who are looking out for all of this and keeping potential mavericks under some sort of scrutiny.

Having said all that though, attendances are still going down the toilet. The old ways have not delivered a healthy way of doing church, so the answer? Let’s persist with the old ways. Apparently. The issue of decline and irrelevance is simply being passed down to each succeeding generation of leaders.

Granted, the Skainos Project is the largest endeavour, (and perhaps the riskiest) that a local congregation has taken on. But the worst that could happen if it all went pear shaped is to hasten the decline of an already declining denomination. The upside would be to remodel how the denomination does things and create permissions for new things which could reverse the fall.

But no. There are rules to follow. Rules which, incidentally, were created in a different generation for a different scenario. And rules is rules. Is RULES. Yes we need checks and balances, I have no difficulty with that.

But what we don’t have in the system is any process of discernment that introduces faith into decision-making. So we face a potential scenario that risk averse spiritual leaders will dictate a pace of development too slow for our funders and partners and so bring the whole adventure crashing down.

Now, I don’t think that’ll happen. I’m just tired of facing down bureaucrats in government, and just when we think we have opened a way ahead, we bust our faces up against the bureaucratic system of the denomination.

Let me be clear, I’m not targeting any individual here. It’s the system. Otherwise really good people are locked into a system which delivers certain results to them. And because they are shaped by the institution and its ways they can’t seem to imagine any other way, or any other imperative, than doing it the way it always has been.

My colleagues sometimes fear I’ll lose it, and say something we will struggle to recover from. I won’t. At least not in a difficult meeting. I have learned the virtue of being a punchbag that rebounds again and again. Having done it for the last 7 years in this project I’m sure we’ll survive another 3 or 4.

From → Rant

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: