The word came to me today that the Methodist Church is moving away from Local Shared Ministry. They have a new word for whatever it is that they are going to put in place. It seems to be ministry teams of lay people. But it doesn’t seem to pick up the simple essentials of Local Shared Ministry.
In a sense, this is no surprise. My denomination’s commitment to LSM has never run much deeper than putting some provisions into the law book a few years ago. Dedicated leadership in implementing the policy hasn’t been given. The revitalisation of dwindling papalagi congregations has not had high priority in a church with multi-ethnic responsibilities.
Now, after decades of being ignored, small congregations are learning that all Methodist buildings be closed unless they meet twice the level of earthquake security that the government requires. It must seem as if the denomination is deliberately planning their demise.
Perhaps it is. Who knows?