Thanks for the excellent articles in the November issue on the economics of congregational ministry ("Getting creative"), including the costs of theological school and compensation for rostered people ("Pastoral debt"). How about asking questions that address even deeper, long-term implications? In a 2008 article, a seminary professor predicted the church in the 21st century will look much more like that of the first century: small groups of Christians meeting in private homes, garages, coffeehouses, etc. What then about the traditional model of broad and deep theological education at seminaries preparing rostered people for full-time ministry? Will it disappear? Will it fundamentally shift to a model based on brief, occasional training for bivocational and/or volunteer leaders? Let's ask such questions in a direct and forceful manner. And, above all, keep the dialogue going.
The Rev. Alan J. Watt
New Braunfels, Texas
Work builds bonds
Most congregations could reduce spending and create understanding and unity by using the talents in the congregation to supply most of the maintenance, rather than spending money to have these things done. When several members work together, you create pride in your church and establish a bond among members.
Maynard W. Hartke
Experience says otherwise
I enjoyed the article "Without God" (November). However, the picture painted was unnecessarily bleak. I am privileged to include agnostics and atheists among my acquaintances, and they most decidedly do not find their lives impoverished and ultimately futile. They find transcendence in relationships and take comfort from the recent findings of quantum physics indicating not a deterministic world but a probabilistic one.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers