Questions about Resurrection Online (3 of 3)

Why are you leaving Resurrection Online?

Over the past three years a stable worship platform has been created and the significant theological reflection have been completed. I have been able to play a significant role in shaping the framework and future direction for Resurrection Online. One of my gifts is to help clarify a direction and next steps for ministry. I feel that I have been able to see this accomplished for Resurrection Online and look forward to see where the ministry will go from here.

Who will lead Resurrection Online?

Travis Morgan will be moving from a staff position at Resurrection West to lead the Partner Church project and Resurrection Online. The Partner Church project is preparing to move from a planning to pilot phase and Travis will be able to provide leadership and guidance during this critical transition. Travis is a gifted leader who will be able to provide strategic direction and move the vision for Resurrection Online forward. Travis’ gifts and skills will help Resurrection Online to take the next step.

What is the future direction of Resurrection Online?

The focus will be on connecting people in person instead of building community and discipleship opportunities specifically for those that worship online. The next steps for Resurrection Online are to:

  1. Continue an excellent online worship experience
  2. Increase the number of people that are worshiping online
  3. Increase the people who connect in person as a result of connection with Resurrection Online.

What will happen to online congregants who have connected with you?

As with any pastoral transition, I will seek to transition the connection of those that worship online to Travis Morgan as the next leader of Resurrection Online and when possible to a local church.

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5 thoughts on “Questions about Resurrection Online (3 of 3)

  1. Andrew,

    What does it mean that a United Methodist elder will no longer be leading Resurrection Online? I’m sure the wonderful things you say about Travis Morgan is true, but it looks like his experience is operational rather than pastoral. Gifted leadership and strategic direction, while important, are different than the care of souls. Has Resurrection Online proven to be an operational challenge more than a pastoral one? That is the sense I get from the “future direction” above. Those tasks/goals don’t seem to require a pastor. Is there still a vision of micro-churches gathering to participate in Resurrection worship online? If so, (how) will the leaders of those groups receive pastoral support/direction?

    Luke

  2. Luke,

    I guess im a bit confused – are you suggesting that lay people cannot be entrusted with the care of souls? If so were all in the wrong missional movement, Methodism had as its historical base a profound committment to the ministry of the Laity, perhaps more so than any movement before it. Without being too blunt, If I had to chose entrusting the care of my soul to Travis vs some of the Elders I know…. well I think you get the gist.

    All that to say I think it is a profound and troubling notion to think that there is any qualitative difference in the care of souls given by Clergy vs. Lay. I see nothing in the scriptures to suggest such a notion, in fact quite the contrary, and certainly nothing in our doctrinal or historical heritage.

    So can you clarify – Is this what you were suggesting or did I misunderstand?

  3. Chuck,

    Sorry if this is a little disjointed, but I think it says what I mean.

    It isn’t incidental that clergy fill pastoral roles. Elders in particular occupy a particular administrative, sacramental, and pastoral office by virtue of their ordination. There is a reason that there is an ordained person at the head of Church of the Resurrection and that the Congregational Care staff in charge of pastoral counseling, hospital visits, funerals, etc. are clergy. There are also clergy in charge at Resurrection West, Downtown, and Blue Springs. While they are all gifted, it is not just because of their particular gifts in that context, it also has to do with the fact that they are clergy, ordained by the church and God for particular work. Now, clearly lay people act pastorally. COR has a massive small group ministry that bears witness to that, but they don’t pastor churches. Wesley had lay people leading small groups (to remarkable effect), but never had them pastor churches. “Care (or cure) of souls” was a little bit of a high-church archaism on my part. By that I meant the pastoral role and everything that goes with it including teaching and proclaiming the word, pronouncing forgiveness of sins, celebrating the sacraments, visiting and anointing the sick, marrying, burying, etc. These work together for the discipleship and spiritual care of the people in a congregation. Lay people can do many of those things, but we set people aside to be responsible for things, not always and only because they are particularly good at it, but because we need people committed to that work, because God calls people in a particular way to that work and we believe that through ordination God gives the grace for it. The pastor, the ordained elder is a major sign of the continuation of the apostolic witness.

    My question though was more about the arc of Resurrection Online. I think that I understood that there were some “churchly” aspirations or hopes with regard to Resurrection Online, an understanding that it in itself could develop into a viable and more or less holistic ecclesial community. That seemed to be the major challenge and question: can we make this work and how? One practical manifestation envisioned was house churches, probably under the oversight of an elder (for reasons mentioned above). For me, the removal of an ordained elder and pastor from the project and his replacement with a lay person whose primary ministry experience is technical and administrative seemed to be significant. It says to me that the challenges and needs of Resurrection Online may not be so much pastoral as technical or managerial. It might say that Resurrection Online has not been able to function as such an ecclesial community and that there are no longer any plans to see it that way. No that there is anything wrong with online worship as spiritual enrichment for some or as a limited means of connection for those who are away from the COR community, or as a way to pick up the slack from the way that we as the church fail shut ins, nursing home residents, etc., etc. It just is different than a church. I don’t know any of this. That’s why I’m asking.

    Peace,

    Luke

  4. Luke – Thanks for raising the question. The future direction for Resurrection Online is clarified in the post. At this time, I believe that it is most faithful to encourage people to become connected with an in person faith community for continued growth in faith. Online worship will continue to be a valuable tool for people checking out a church, are traveling or unable for some reason to worship in a more traditional way. The next step for anyone who worships online is to get connected in person to continue to grow in faith, recognizing that not everyone will be able to take that step. Does that make sense? Please feel free to ask more questions if I could help clarify.

  5. Pingback: Closing My Time with Resurrection Online « Thoughts of Resurrection

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