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JCFruitfulField

JCFruitfulField

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Published by John Cooper

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Published by: John Cooper on Dec 23, 2011
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ResponsetoFrui-ulFieldsConsulta2onBackground
Iama26year-oldMethodist.Atthemomenttheonly‘office’Iholdis‘OnNote’asalocalpreacher.IhavepreviouslybeenamemberoftheMethodistConference,CouncilandYouthConference.IhavenopersonalorprofessionalinterestinanyofthelearninginsEtuEonsortheirfutures.IamrespondingassomeonewhohasastrongformalandpersonalinterestinlearningopportuniEesonofferfromthechurch.Ihavebookshelvesteemingwithtomesonthechurch,itspeopleandhistory,Ihaveeagerlyreadmanydocumentsandplayasfullalifeaspossibleinthechurch.IhavetriedtobegintoexplorehowtoservethechurchandhaveworkedatConnexionalLevel.OutsideofthisIhavebeenassociatedwithapost-1992universityforaround9years.5yearsstudy(includingoneyearworkingforthestudentunion)beforethencarryingoutstudentassesmentresearchandchairingtheirelecEonscommiPee.DuringthisEmeIhaveseenmulEplecampusreorganisaEons,theintroducEonof‘topup’feesandtheconEnuedinfluenceofabusinessapproachtorunningauniversity.IamnotenErelysoldontheconceptthatfinancialviabilityistheonlywaytorateinsEtuEonsbuthavebeenpleasedbytheincreasingfeedbackandtransparencymeasurestakentoensureeveryonehasaclearerideaaboutwhatisonofferandwhattheyarechoosingtotakepartin.Ipersonallyhaveastronginterestinnewstylesofchurchandchurchcommunityandstruggledtofindhowthatwillbeenabledandexploredinthenewproposals.
John Cooper: Fruitful Field Response: Page 1
 
Reflec2on
OveralltheFruiUulFieldconsultaEonvisionhasbeendifficulttoworkwith.SomeofthishasbeenalackofstructuredconsultaEon
1
,meaningIhavepersonallystruggledtoengage,andalsoalackoffirmproposalsandwhatproposalsaremadeIhavefoundsocouchedinreligioustalkthatthepracEcaliEesaredifficulttoenvisage.ConceptualisingthevisionwasdescribedbyoneuseroftheKMethodistFacebookGroupaslike‘jugglingjelly’andIwouldagree.Thisdoesn’tmeanthereisn’tsomethingtotalkabout,myconcernismoreaboutthelackofdetailmeaningitis(atEmes)difficulttoknowquietwhatwearealltalkingabout.Ihope,therefore,thatmycommentsareofassisttothecommiPeeinassessingthechurchesresponsetotheiroriginalpaperagainstsome(asyetunspecified)criteria.
BibleBackground
TheFruiUulFieldpassageisanengagingpassagewithinthebible.It’svisionofgrowth,nurturedorganically,spirituallyinspired,isaprincipleIwouldhopethatmanywithinthechurchcouldgetbehind.However,satonit’sownIampersonallywaryofusingitsacorebasisfororganisinganeducaEonprogram.Forme,thefirstvisionthatsoo^encomestomindisthatpicturedinLuke6,thatofahousebuilttowithstandalltheworldmaythrowatitbecauseitisbuiltonfirm-foundaEons.Theco-operaEvemovementhaslongseeneducaEonasakeypartofit’stransformaEvework.Wilson,Stull&Vinsonhaler(1996)reflectedthatco-operaEveeducaEonworks“asacurriculummodelthatlinksworkandacademics-amodelthatisbasedonsoundlearningtheory
2
”.Iwouldhopethatourlife-longlearningthataimstoequipandempoweralllevelsofthechurchshouldbebaseduponnotjustahopeofrevivalbutamoresubstanEal,transformaEvewishtoeducatepeoplethroughthesoundestmethodspossibletoensureinanever-changingworld.Therecentsocialatudessurvey
3
madeclearthatpeoplearelesswillingtofindfaithatalaterpointintheirlifeiftheyhaven’tfounditasachild.Thismeansthecaseforafirmfaith,abletobeexplainedandtotransformtheworldisneedednow,morethanever.
Organisa2onalBackground
Iwassurprisedthatthedocumentfailedtoreviewtheimpactofthe2007reviewoflearninginsEtuEons.Doesthismeanthatthereviewwasuseless,doesthismeanthenewauthorsjustdidn’tlikeit?ThereisthepotenEalforrealchangethatwilleitherdestroyorre-ignitethelearningpotenEaloftheMethodisteoplewithintheFruiUulFielddocumentbutitisveryunclearwhatlearningandevaluaEoninfluencedthecreaEonofthedocument.Iamalsoconcernedaboutthelackofengagementwithchurchstructures.WhileafanoforganisedinsEtuEonallearning,Icannotseereferencetodiscussionswithdistrictorcircuit,letaloneecumenicalcolleagues.Iwouldn’twishthisdiscussiontogetstuckatconnexionallevelandthefinalreporttocomebackwithrecommendaEonsthatrelyupondistrictandcircuitsupportandfundingwithoutengagingtheminhowtheycanshapetheircreaEonandassistindeliveringthem.
Recommenda2on1Alistofmaterialreadandreviewedbymembersofthepanelisreleasedasanappendixtothenextpaper.
John Cooper: Fruitful Field Response: Page 2
1
Iwillcommentonthisindetailattheend.
2
Wilson,Stull&Vinsonhaler,1996,Wilson,JamesWarner;Stull,W.A.;Vinsonhaler,J.(1996),"RethinkingCooperaEveducaEon",JournalofCooperaEveducaEon31(2-3):154–165,Winter-Spring1996(J524112)
3
BriEshSocialAtudesSurvey,2011,hPp://ir2.flife.de/data/natcen-social-research/igb_html/index.php?bericht_id=1000001&index=&lang=NG
 
Pathways
ThedescripEonofthevariouspathwayscurrentlyavailableas‘adhoc’wouldbeafairassessment.AssomeonewhohasbeenpromptedtoexploreacalltoaformofministrywithinthechurchIhavefounditconfusing,uninspiringandulEmatelydifficulttoengagewith.Theneedforchangeisclear,someofitissimplerepackaging,modernisingandpolishing.Otherchangeisaboutworkingwithachangedstatus(legalandpracEcal)ofchurchcommuniEesinthesocieEesweseektoserveandinspire.
PathwaystowardsDiaconal,FreshExpressionsorPresbyteral
athwaysshouldrealisethatstudiesrecognisethatpeoplenowjoin‘causes’ratherthanjust‘names’.AsmayhavebeenthethinkingwithintheOurCallingandthenDiscipleshippapers,aposiEveself-imagewillbeitsownrecruiEngtool.nlessweareproudofourheritage,challenginginwhatwedotodayandposiEveaboutourfuturethenwhywouldanyonewishtogivealifeofservicetothechurch?The‘xploringVocaEon’bookletwasaposiEvesteptomakeministryanappealingprospecttopeoplewhowishtoexploreit.ThisneedstobesupportedinastrategicandmethodicalwaywithvocaEondaysandsimilarthatarehigh-qualityandinspiring.Thesedaysshouldn’tjustbereliantona‘paperbooklet’butshouldseekinspiraEonfromtheAnglicanChurchcampaignwhichprofiledavarietyofministersandchallengedthoseofusunder30toconsidercouldwebecalledtoministry.AnyministryshouldfocusuponnurturingtheMethodistCharismsandthenplacethemwithinthewidermulE-faithcontextinwhichweserve.cumenicalspacesworkwelliftheyenablealltoofferthegi^sandtheirbackgroundsandanytrainingforministryshouldn’tloosethis.However,ifweoverlyfocusonecumenicalworshipetcthereisasubstanEalquesEonoverwhyanyoneshouldofferthemselvestobetrainedbyanorganisaEonwhichappearsunclearaboutwhatitisaboutandwhatitcanoffertochurchunity,tochurchmissionandthewiderworld.TheArthurRankcentrerecentlyclaimedthatruralministryisnotascelebratedwithinthechurchasitcouldorshouldbe.AnyfruiUulfieldprojectshouldseektoprovidewaystoexploreamirriadofopportuniEesnotonapersonalbasis,butbeclearfromthestart.Ihavepersonallyfounditconfusing(unElreadingthroughthisdocument!)tofindoutwhatdifferenttypesofministryfromurbantorural,industrialtofreshexpressions,thatthechurchsupportsandwhere.SocietyhassubstanEallychangedinthelast100yearsandwillconEnuetochange.While‘tradiEonal’formsofministryhavemuchtooffer,organisaEonssuchasCMSandstrandswithintheAnglican,Methodistandnon-denominaEonalorganisaEonshavenurturedanewstyleofcommunitybased,creaEveworshipthatisverydifferent.athwaystoministryshouldenablealltotakeseriouslywhatitmeanstoministerinthemodernageandallstylesofworshipshouldbegivenequalbillingtoensurethateveryonefindsaministrytheyareabletodeliver,notjustapre-decidedmouldtheyshouldfit.Finally,itisdifficultatthemomenttobeclearaboutwhattrainingisonoffer.InthesecularworldthereisarangeofprospectusesandexternalqualityverificaEon.ForaConnexionalChurchIwouldseekthesetoolsasafineexampleofhow,asanaEonalchurch,wecancreateavariedanddisEnctprospectusandacademicstructurethatcanbesoldtothewiderchurchas‘hereiswhatwestandfor,hereiswhatwetrainfor,hereishowweserve’.IfthefinalvisionfindsmulEplesitesthatshouldn’tmaPeranda‘mulE-campus’prospectusshouldbeproduced.Totakeseriouslythe‘lifelonglearning’modelproclaimedinthepreviouslearningreviewwemustmakeclearwhattrainingopensupwhatandthatinformaEonisdifficulttofindatthemoment.
Recommenda2on:AnyFrui-ulFieldprojectshouldbegroundedinawellfunded,strategicallysupportedcampaigntopromote‘paid’ministryasvitalandvaluablepartoftheMethodistChurch.Throughtheeffec2veuseofmoderncommunica2ontools(includingcasestudies)awidevarietyofpeoplewillberecruitedandinspiredtogivetheirlivesinserviceto
John Cooper: Fruitful Field Response: Page 3

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