This first section of the book basically outlines that we live in a time of change. The world around us is changing rapidly and the church is not keeping pace. All of this I already knew and am totally on board with the message of these chapters. Clayton says "If those of us in leadership are honest, we have to admit we don't really know how to manage this change. We don't really know how to pastor a new kind of church or lead a denomination into the future or solve the problems of social injustice and global climate change. Most of us have a hard enough time just integrating our faith with the intricacies of our own day-t0-day lives." This speaks to clearly to where I am. I see the change. I am ready and willing to help foster change. But I don't know how. I need help. I feel stuck.
Clayton goes on to suggest that denominations need to split their clergy between "traditional" churches and new ways of being church. This is one of my deep questions at the moment. I serve a traditional church. Is it destined to stay that way until it dies? Is there only "old" churches and "new" churches and no opportunity for "old" churches to learn new tricks? My attempts at pointing out the deep change needed have not been successful. I would be hard pressed to convince a single person at my church that we are dying. And yet with 80% of our members over 65 I know we are. My relative youth as a pastor does nothing to change the basic structures of this church.
I was reading this morning an interview with our recently former Moderator, Bruce Reyes-Chow, who suggested that our institutional structure will need to change, we will have to accept that there will be multiple ways of being church, that younger folks will need to be a significant part of the leadership, etc. Again, I agree with everything I read of Bruce and Philip Clayton. I feel like I have been in this phase of "Yeah, yeah I get it - everything must change - but how?" for awhile now. I will probably have to stay in it awhile longer. And I will keep reading to see if there are any suggestions about steps forward offered in this book.