DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Counting Sheep.

Written by: on May 30, 2019

In What Clergy Do, Especially When It Looks Like Nothing, Emma Percy drawing on her Ph.D. work and experience as a priest describes the life and work of modern-day priest using the model and language of motherhood. Many reviewers were aptly aware of the parallels between Percy’s work and that of Naomi Stadlen’s saying, “the book riffs off Naomi Stadlen’s book ”What Mothers Do: Especially when it looks like nothing’, and is focused around the mothering/clergy analogy.[1] Percy, while writing in an academic style, keeps the reader moving along and seeking more with concise material and rich imagery with the use of metaphors. David Warbrick in his review agrees writing, “What Clergy Do introduces us to a rich store of work on motherhood, inviting us to enjoy a satisfying many layered metaphor[s] for ministry which opens up well-defended areas of embattled priestly hearts[2]

As a male reading this book, it was easy for me to relate to the motherhood metaphor(s) and I was particularly impacted about the section on Living up to the calling­­­–being good enough. Percy, in this section, talks about human to human contact versus statically analysis to determine the health of a baby/church. She writes, “growth happens where people are healthy and well feed and where all the conditions are right, but it will not look the same numerically for all[3] She then goes on the illustrate this by talking about how only when something goes wrong then we suspect there might be an issue with the child as it is assumed that some might be taller or shorter and different sizes than other kids. This again, was very easy to follow as I naturally thought of my own two kids and expect them the be different, and when my daughter was having some issues with writing, we discovered she needed classes. When something went wrong, we found a solution and were not focused on just her growth (numerically) but her well-being overall.

As I continue to research Spirit-led leadership, it is becoming more apparent that at some point during the “church growth movement,” leadership became fixated on numbers as the sign of God’s blessing. Dr. Clark during the Hong Kong face to face spoke of the Spirituality of Measuring and pointed out that leaders need to measure but he also amply reminded us that “the enemy is quite happy to give us the wrong measurements to focus on[4] While the church can learn from business principles, it should always use them as secondary principles to our theological understanding(s). Meaning a business model of leadership will lean towards numerical growth as the ultimate goal is to increase revenue. The church, on the other hand, the ultimate goal is to help people become disciples of Christ or grow people. The former can tend to focus solely on growing the organization to the expense of growing the people in the organization. Percy writes, “churches need healthy growth that is appropriate, and the affirmation of their size and shape is acceptable, even if it does not come close to the idealized models offered[5] The church was never about a comparison to each other but completion in Christ. While we all fight the comparison disease, maybe the good physician is prescribing a healthy dose of reality and humility that he is the builder of the church, and we are his helpers.

 

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[1] “Book Review: Emma Percy, ‘What Clergy Do: Especially When It Looks like Nothing.'” Brigid, Fox, and Buddha. July 25, 2014. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://brigidfoxandbuddha.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/book-review-emma-percy-what-clergy-do-especially-when-it-looks-like-nothing/.

[2].” Warbrick, David. “Emma Percy, What Clergy Do, Especially When It Looks like Nothing.” Theology 118, no. 5 (September 2015): 391–93. http://doi:10.1177/0040571X15588878aa.

[3].”  Emma Percy, What Clergy Do: Especially When It Looks like Nothing, (London: SPCK, 2014), 154.              

[4].” Jason Clark Ph.D., Spirituality of Measuring Plenary Session, Hong Kong Advance 2018.

[5].”  Emma Percy, What Clergy Do: Especially When It Looks like Nothing, (London: SPCK, 2014), 155.

About the Author

Mario Hood

Most importantly, I am married to the love of my life, Misty Hood, and I'm kept on my toes all day every day, by my son Dalen and daughter Cola Hood. I also serve as the Next Generation Pastor at Church On The Living Edge in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Mark Chironna as well as being a Youth and Family Life coach.

6 responses to “Counting Sheep.”

  1. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Mario,
    Well articulated post as usual! You state, “While the church can learn from business principles, it should always use them as secondary principles to our theological understanding(s).” How does Percy’s construct and your research help you convey theological understanding trumping business principles within the local church? Thanks again and have a great summer, H

    • Mario Hood says:

      Great question. One of the big area’s I’m seeing is that business focus is always on the bottom line (numbers) while theological our focusing should be serving the Father in Christ via the Spirit aka making disciples. This might mean “growth” is a lot slower but as the reading teaches, maturity is slow and I’ll add we all know people how have grown up in age but still very young in mindsight.

  2. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Great post, Mario. When reading and being reminded about Dr. Clark’s message on measuring I began wondering what it would look like to measure the growth of a person rather than an organization. What if we measured if the person is more loving and fruitful as described in Galatians 5? What if we measured if a person is being sent into the mission of God personally rather than the collective organization? How do we measure the intangibles in the individuals that would, in time, result in organizational effectiveness?

    • Mario Hood says:

      That’s a great question. I think we would have to take a different approach to church as in people first rather than production first. Meaning we don’t produce to gather people we gather people to produce and then regather to discuss the relational impact (small groups maybe). You got me thinking 🙂

  3. mm Mary Mims says:

    Great post Mario. While I would agree that the business of the church should not be the primary focus, I think it is important to keep it in focus. Just as a family that does not pay the bills to keep a roof over the families head would be deemed irresponsible, so a church that cannot manage the business side is not really caring for its members. Do you think many churches focus on the business side of the equation because they have seen so many churches fail in this area? From your diagram of what people think the pastor does all day, it is clear that the pastor must balance their time, which is difficult to do.

    • Mario Hood says:

      Hey Mary good question. I wasn’t referring to the business aspect of Ministry. I was referring to using business principles to run the church in general. Meaning, being results oriented rather than people oriented. Sorry it the post wasn’t clear on that. In many respects a church is an organization and requires us to do the business stuff but it is also an organism which requires us to growth people.

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