I'm trying really really hard to get on with my Pastoral Ministry assignment. I am reading Donald E. Messer's Contemporary Images of Christian Ministry (Abingdon, 1989) and find that it is an excellent book. I may actually find myself quoting him in every other sentence as I write my paper, which I am trying hard not to do if I want to pass this module.
This I must quote here:
One's image or vision of the church is indeed pivotal to one's image of ministry. History abounds with evidence to confirm this theory. If one's model of the church is primarily that of a visible institution, complete with constitution, rules, rights, an powers, then one's understanding of ministry is likely to be hierarchical, managerial and dogmatic. (Messer, 81-82)
He is spot on.