Cooperative Ministry Workshop
by Jay Ettinger
Frustrations about being the church in these difficult times were shared at a workshop on Cooperative Ministry held at the Tatamagouche Centre in October.
Stories of small churches dying, vast increases in requests for half time ministry personnel because that is all that can be afforded, and other tales of struggle were prevalent.
Running through these tales, however, was a thread of hope that people wanted to see their churches become stronger and more united. Folks agreed that this was the reason for the workshop but the question remained: what to do about it?
According to Webster’s Dictionary…the word “cooperative” is defined as being marked by a willingness and ability to work with other Is a good word to describe our churches?
The 2nd chapter of Acts reads: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven… For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls.
Whatever one’s concept of sin, one way of faltering is to place too much emphasis on one’s own survival, to the detriment of others. Healthy churches are focused on staying that way; struggling churches are focused on staying alive; and dying churches are ignored because others don’t want any of their misfortune to rub off on them.
Into this melee comes Cooperative Ministry, focusing on the fundamental truth that we are all in this boat together and as such, need to look beyond our individual horizons to see how all might be of served. The goal of Co-Operative Ministry is to discover and explore new and faithful ways to be in ministry together, whether relating to others through physical geography, shared community, or similar mission interests.
This was a very exciting workshop that inspired those who gathered to make positive change. There will be a gathering in 2013 before our Maritime Conference AGM in Sackville so if you are interested stay tuned to the Conference Website for more information.