I just finished watching the Modcast, the webcast which Bruce Reyes-Chow did today in conversation with Beau Weston about the “Rebuilding the Presbyterian Establishment” paper. (See previous posts here and here.) I was grateful that Bruce and Beau took the time to discuss this, and excited to see the voices of so many friends in the forum. I’m thankful that Beau wrote the paper and see where he’s coming from, but still think the paper is incomplete. If the church is called to give itself for the sake of mission, it needs people with missionary mindsets leading the denomination. Tall-steeple pastors may have the organizational strengths necessary to run the bureaucracy of our denomination, but the missing piece in the paper is the missional vision.
At the Presbyterian Global Fellowship conference in Long Beach last August, Charles Wiley commented to me that PGF is the only example in recent history of tall-steeple pastors taking leadership in the PC(USA). He’s right. But they’re tall-steeple pastors who are starting to think more like missionaries. Functionally, a leader should not just maintain structures or enable processes to run smoothly. A leader should be able to cast vision, and in the case of any church, that vision has to be about making disciples. In our context, that means the “tall-steeple” style pastors whom the paper suggests should lead the denomination need to be capable of thinking beyond maintenance towards growing the Kingdom of God. Add that to the paper and then I think some of its ideas have serious potential.
Again, thanks Bruce and Beau for putting that together!