March 19, 2018

Care of Souls

The folks behind How We Gather just released their most recent report. It's called, Care of Souls. In it, they talk about 7 roles they view as necessary for healthy, nurturing communities. Those roles are  Gatherer, Seer, Maker, Healer, Venturer, Steward, and Elder. The parallels may not be exact but I find these roles very interesting to compare to what the Apostle Paul mentions in Ephesians 4; Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher. Alan Hirsch is likely best known for the missiologist to promoting the balance of these 5 leadership traits in the life of the church. Hirsch's argument is that when these characteristics work in balance the church thrives. Think about it, most of our congregations and institutions are built around the development and sustaining of systems supporting/needing shepherds and teachers. Even in the most inward focused, unhealthy congregations you will find these two characteristics. Apostles, prophets and evangelists have no application in a faith community with no relationship with its surrounding context. Yet, when these characteristics are employed and a congregation is in relationship with the surrounding community it finds new life. The language of this report points towards the caring of the souls of those participating in the community. While important, when placed in relationship with an outward focus as part of how we care for souls a whole new set outcomes are possible. Missional habits as part of the spiritual practices of a community are critical to how we care for souls.

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