Article: “No Need for Church,” (Adam J. Copeland, Christian Century, February 8, 2012), is important reading for the future goals of the Doctor of Ministry Program of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The author is a pastor, and a young adult, and is immersed in ministry-a form of ministry less about the building, the pastor’s study, the correct theological stance, the correct view of everything-and more centered on what I call being present and what I call being truly present. I mean by this last statement agenda-less.
Is such possible? Don’t we really all have some sort of agenda even when we say we do not? Can we really be present to someone else-listen deeply without importing our own view of things, our own truth, or our own struggles? I suppose not. Not really. It might seem as if it would then be a faith without any theology or a question of what belief is all about?
Pastors are faced with an ongoing vocational conundrum. When is it about us; when is it about others; when is it about the institutional church; when is it not? What is important to know-what informs knowledge (What is epistemology) and what are we to do with experience?
There are lots of questions which shape the direction and the purpose of an advanced doctorate in my view. It is about a deep and rich life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. I do think Adam J. Copeland says it well at the end of his article: “I’m grateful that when I become overwhelmed, something or someone always reminds me that I’m not called to bring God to young adults. As I listen to the stories of their loves, I sense that God is already at work. But will the church catch and claim the vision?”
This article is one of several in the Parish Focus Education and Formation Seminar taught this July by The Rev. William Myers, Ed.D. If this peaks your interest, catches your hope for ministry-check out the whole of the DMin program.
Susan Kendall, Director