Tag Archives: Justin Welby

Vineyard and the New Archbishop of Canterbury

justin welbyEarlier I had mentioned in passing that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke at the Vineyard UK/Ireland National Leaders’ Conference last week. Sadly the conversation between him, his lovely wife, Caroline and the Vineyard national directors, John and Eleanor Mumford, has been taken off the internet… however, I did make some notes about his talk that I wanted to share with you all. 😀

First off, it was really cool to hear a little more about Justin’s background as he has a very influential position on the world stage (the Anglican Communion has around 85 million members worldwide). One cool item that stood out to me was the openness that  he and Caroline had towards the movement of the Spirit through signs and wonders. Having never been to an Anglican church, I’ve always assumed that they were more cessatist (I know, I know…it is wrong to assume…). However, Justin spoke of being greatly influenced by John Wimber and having just come back from a retreat center in Europe ran by a bunch of charismatic Catholic monks (I told you assuming was wrong! Besides, I should have remembered that Wimber spend years blessing the Anglican Church!).

Secondly, and I think most importantly, at one point in the conversation John Mumford asked Justin what he thought about the Vineyard. Justin responded with a wonderful encouragement to keep on keeping in the direction and calling that God gave us. Here is the question John asked as well as Justin’s response (transcribed by yours truly):

John: “What do you feel that the Vineyard can bring? What can we contribute as a family of churches that loves to be part of the broader body of Christ?”

Justin: “I think it is a really important question. I think – there is a lot of answer that can come. One of the one’s is around the holistic ministry – the idea that you deal with people as they are, not as you would like them to be – you deal with them where they are – you take them were they are – the ministry to the poor, integrated utterly with a passionate commitment to Jesus Christ and to worship. I think I want to say something else – for me part of the inspiration of the Vineyard is seeing the reminder that in the presence of Christ we can we transform the life of the church, which in the churches we have been at – it is sometimes taken a while – and it is this sense of transformation – of integrity, reality and hope and living in the power of the Spirit.  I suppose I want to encourage you all in more than anything else: Do not move away from the gift of the spirit to this place.” (underlines added)

Continue reading Vineyard and the New Archbishop of Canterbury

The Pastor’s Main Duty…

As a pastor it is easy to get carried away doing this and that, wearing different hats, doing different things –good things, mind you. Yet, in the middle of doing and being this and that, it is very, very easy to forget what it means to be a Pastor. Dave Workman, pastor of the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently brought this tension in the pastorship with a light-hearted, but serious post about the “top 5 things pastors should stop pretending to be.” In the post Dave states the following:

“…the pastor’s main duty is making sure the mission of the local church is carried out, and primarily that’s finding lost people and shepherding them through the process of seekers to servants. And so we have to lean into the expertise of theologians and biblical scholars we’ve learned to trust. It doesn’t mean that we don’t study; it simply means there are people who only and solely do that as a vocation for the purpose of schooling pastors like me. In many ways, a pastor has to be a generalist. We should best be able to pass on creedal basics and lead and shepherd the local church.”

This concept of what it means to be a pastor echoes the words of Eugene Peterson in his book  “The Pastor: A Memoir” – a book, by the way, that that have greatly influenced my own thoughts on what it means to be a pastor:

“I was not primarily dealing with people as problems. I was a pastor calling them to worship God….Congregations is a company of people who are defined by their creation in the image of God, living souls, whether they know it or not. They are not problems to be fixed, but mysteries to be honored and revered. Who else in the community other than the pastor has the assigned task of greeting men and women and welcoming them into a congregation in which they are known not by what is wrong with them, but by who they are, just as they are?”

In other words, a pastor isn’t someone with all the answers, or someone who does everything – they are, at the core, someone who stands in the middle of the community calling people to worship God. They, we, are a bell ringing in the day and a light on a hill, reminding folks that God is real and is passionately in love with them. It is as Archbishop of Canterbury-elect Justin Welby said this week at the Vineyard UK/Ireland National Leaders’ Conference:

“The key piece of advice for Christian leaders is that you have to be the one who is growing closer to Jesus; closing closer in your love for Jesus – and nothing else counts. The rest is decorations. If you are not doing that, you’re wasting your time. Nothing else counts, however skillful you are.”

It really is that simple. Love Jesus with all you soul, heart, mind and strength, and then love others as yourself.

Introducing The New Archbishop of Canterbury

(Photo: Keith Blundy / Aegies Associates)

It has been a busy past couple of weeks for the global Church – first there was the election of a new Coptic Orthodox Pope and now there is naming of Rowan Williams’ successor as the Archbishop of Canterbury. While Protestants in the USA may not think much of these two events, they are actually very, very, very HUGE events as they affect the lives of millions Jesus followers around the world.

Take the Archbishop of Canterbury, for example, whoever sits in that chair affects the direction of the entire Anglican Communion, which has around 85 million members worldwide. The Coptic Orthodox Church is a tad smaller at 18 million members – bring the total number of people affected by the two leadership changes to 103 million believers. That, my friends, is a lot of people!

But, alas, we have digressed from the main focus of this post which was to introduce you all to the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Justin Welby.

Currently Justin Welby is the bishop of Durham, having succeeded Bishop N.T. Wright in that position last year. Which brings up the interesting point that Webly has only been a bishop in the Anglican Church for a year – hardly the resume one would expect for the new Archbishop…

However, it must be pointed out that Welby has quite the track record that more than over shadows this lack of experience. For example, he has worked as an arbitrator during religious conflicts around the world with the Coventry Centre for Reconciliation and he has 11 years of experience as an oil executive, which shows that he has leadership skills.

Theologically speaking, Bishop Welby is said to be within the evangelical tradition of the Anglican Church – a position that, I’m guessing, places him closer to more conservative churches in the Global South than the more liberal Episcopal churches in the USA. What we do know is that Welby has historically been outspoken against same-sex marriage while supportive of women bishops (two of the biggest controversies facing the Anglican Communion)…so it may be that his selection as Archbishop of Canterbury is a message to the Anglican Communion as to what direction the church is wanting to go….  I don’t know, but may the Lord guide them as they figure things out.