Returning to the Roots of Ministry

Mark D. W. Edington

Mar/2018, 144 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819233868



Bivocational: Returning to the Roots of Ministry offers one answer to the pressing question of the future of congregational life in the mainline Protestant Church. The contention of the book is that the model of professional ministry we have received from the past century of congregational life is imposing unsustainable costs on most congregations and parishes. In consequence, these faith communities face stark choices for which there are no self-evident answers. Shall we close? Shall we merge with another congregation—a decision shaped by a primary value on maintaining a full-time professional in the role of ordained minister? Can we find someone who will do the job part-time? What will it mean for them—and for us?

Bivocational explores the impact on the ministry, on congregations, and on denominational polities of encouraging a way forward—one in which bivocational ordained professionals, ministers working simultaneously in the church and in secular life, come to leadership positions in the church. It explores the different sorts of gifts and preparation such ordained ministers need, and how a bivocational ethos looks when it characterizes not only the ordained minister, but all ministers of the congregation—lay and ordained alike.

MARK D. W. EDINGTON is the bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. He served as Epps Fellow and Chaplain to Harvard College, and Associate Minister and Director of Administration in The Memorial Church of Harvard University. He served as executive director of the Center for the Study of World Religions and as the inaugural executive director of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory. He was also the founding director of the Amherst College Press. He lives in Paris, France.

“Mark Edington’s expansive definition of bivocational ministry offers insights to faithful people and faith community leaders, no matter their church’s personnel structure, nor their personal day jobs.” —Sarah B. Drummond, Dean, Andover Newton Theological School

“As the foundation stones of many churches appear to be crumbling, Bivocational offers a new model of ministry that is hopeful, affordable, and wonderfully consistent with Paul’s vision for the church.”—Jeffrey R. Docking, PhD, President, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan

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