Acts The Church and Ministerial Training

Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator: Kaitiaki

There are two aspects to this thread: the training of the local congregation (for the work of ministry - as in Ephesians) and the theological training of ministers (or pastors).

Acts shows us local congregations that trained young men (and women) for every appropriate aspect of Church work. That included the work of ministry and missions. Discuss this statement. Do you think it is valid? What implications (if any) are there for the present system in almost every denomination of sending young men to a seminary to be trained? How does your Church seek to apply those implications in the way they train ministers and missionaries?

janetnva2000's picture

Ministers of Word and Sacrament

Clark, I am so sorry you had such an unfruitful experience in the ecumenical worship event. Perhaps the blandness of it wasn't because the leaders were professional, but because they had to find common ground. Moreover, I feel confident that not everyone had the same experience. While it may have been irritating for you, it probably fed someone else's soul to be in a large group of Christians worshiping together and somebody got to sing their favorite hymn.
I totally agree with you that laypeople should have been up there too. Women and young people are all too often lumped together in a "Martha" role, rather than in a Mary Magdalene role, she whom the Risen Christ sent as an Apostle to the Apostles.
My take on professionally led worship is a bit different from yours though. I have certainly been in similar situations. I don't deny they exist. What I want to tell you, is that it isn't always like that when professionals lead worship.
I am not ordained to Ministry of Word and Sacrament. I am not able to read the New Testament in the original Greek and Aramaic, nor am I able to read much of the Hebrew Scriptures in Hebrew. Therefore, I depend on each and every ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in my denomination to, with prayer, wisdom, love, and knowledge, interpret scripture for me in each sermon. Each of them can read the scriptures in their original languages. They are not dependant on anyone else's translation. If she/he is not willing or able to do that, I take seriously my own priestly role and admonish in love, question, and challenge her/him to do so next time.
Needless to say, I am not an easy member to have in the congregation. On the other hand, most ministers are just so glad somebody was really listening, they are thrilled to be challenged.
What I DO NOT want, is someone who is unprepared for the very serious job of interpreting scripture to get up in the pulpit and preach their own personal favorite theory. That is fine in casual situations, but I go to church for some serious theology, some soul felt silences, prayers from the heart, confession, affirmation, and some joyful noise. I rejoice in the union of souls, imperfect though it be. The visual austerity of my denomination can lead its professional to make each worship service a work of creativity. Some are better than others obviously, but it is the work of the people to make worship work. We truly get what we deserve.
When it used to make me angry, I stayed away. Something in me changed, and I see it differently now. So don't worry about how the professionals are doing it. Leave them to those who need and want that connectional church life. You do well here. This ethereal spiritual life has much to offer many of us it seems. Who says this isn't worship? We are gathered together in the Spirit. I love it.
As for not doing it the way the early church did it, thank God we don't! Reformed and always reforming is what I think we must be doing. Isn't the Holy Spirit still working on and in us? Are we to deny all that 2000+ years of God's work with the people? I like being able to read and write. I thank the Reformation for causing Sunday Schools to be organized so all people could learn to read the Bible for themselves. I believe that God loves progress we make as long as we keep our eyes on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, viewing all things through that lens (to paraphrase John Calvin himself). That includes writings by John Calvin
and Paul too.
I love my church and am amazed to finally have found one that has the combination I need to grow in the faith and in my spiritual life. I would love also to have a little house church where I belonged, but I wouldn't expect the same things in that setting.
Janet in Virginia

"God's Gift IS Grace"

Janet in Virginia
"God's Gift IS Grace"