Abductive Columns

Sunday, December 25, 2005

New Job Descriptions for the Emerging Church

This isn’t an easy time to lead a congregation. I have utmost sympathy for those who are having trouble making the transition to ministry in the emerging culture.

Once something sinks into the skull, it’s hard to get it out and embrace a contrary idea. New modes of worship come easier for some then others. This suggested list of “worship positions” in the emerging church is no doubt old hat to those of you who’ve been moving in this direction. But for some, it will be a stretch to transition current ministries and embrace these possibilities:
  • Ushers—an usher used to escort people to their seats, where they were enjoined to sit down, be still, and keep silent. But a true usher has the sacred role of ushering people into the presence of God. An usher is the name of every member of the worship design team. The “head usher” is who used to be called the worship leader, who’s now less a moderator of order or a human metronome keeping everybody together than a participant artist.

  • Curators—a new position which is already manifesting itself in what the English call alt.worship (alternate worship) circles. A curator is a servant of people who curates (not leads) worship by functioning as an “installer of art and creator of an environment that is conducive to experiencing God.”

  • Concierges—experts in the art of hospitality, replacing what use to be called the church host or hostess. George Hunter’s right when he says that the presence of church visitors is the “most misperceived signal in local churches today, and the church’s most neglected opportunity. But concierges need to be employed for members as well, resolving problems, handling complaints, and managing “moments of truth.”

  • Servers—people who put the service in the “worship service.” Instead of bringing people to the pews, servers bring coffee, artwork, and other instruments to the people seated at tables or other conducive seating arrangements that fit the worship experience. Servers build a service culture at every point of contact, and mentor others in service training.

  • Sommelier—more than a fancy name for “wine steward,” this is a person whose ministry is to know each member of the community intimately, and find creative and original ways to personalize the community’s ministries.
Forget “ministers,” “unpaid servants” or “volunteers.” Faith communities need a vocabulary of respect and nuance that names people’s ministries. adapted from an article by Leonard Sweet


Post a Comment

<< Home