The Gospel and Class: Six Struggles image

The Gospel and Class: Six Struggles

Acts 29's conference on The Gospel and Class included some incredibly insightful, and sometimes moving, sessions from Mez McConnell, Ian Williamson and others. There were all sorts of thought-provoking and challenging ideas thrown out, some of which I did not expect at all (like the repeated digs at Foodbank!) But for me the highlight was Andy Prime's short message, "Struggles of a Middle-Class Pastor on a Housing Estate." He spoke for less than twenty minutes, but identified six struggles (all of which, I imagine, are transferable beyond his context), and also articulated in one sentence the key insight that I took away from the event: "My struggles as a middle-class pastor planting a church on a housing scheme did not come because I didn't recognise the privileges I had; they came first of all because I didn't appreciate the emotions that those privileges provoked."

The six struggles he highlights are:

1. Ignorance of the emotions behind the “us” and the “them.” They run deep, and whether you notice it or not, they run deep on both sides.
2. Underestimating how long it takes to earn people’s trust. Impatience for quick results can kill ministry to working class communities.
3. Building a church based on just preaching and teaching, without also eating and drinking. “You’ll never enjoy having someone to the Lord’s table for the first time, if you’ve not had them around your table.”
4. Seeing everything as black and white, and being unable to handle grey. “Your ministry is going to feel more like the book of 1 Corinthians than the book of Romans. Deal with it.”
5. Naivete to the power of a dominant culture. “If you don’t think that your church has a dominant culture, it means that the church’s dominant culture is your culture.”
6. Over-leading because you are aiming at peak efficiency. This is so challenging (and helpful): “over-leading may mean an efficient church in this generation, but it will mean a dead church in the next generation.”

It’s a super message. You can watch or download all the sessions here.

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