If you and some colleagues were exploring a new business venture, of which the group had little, or spotty, experience, and you could access the experience (as well as theoretical knowledge) of someone who had done this exact work for the CEO of the world’s third largest company, would you be in touch with that person?
What would that expertise be worth?
Not much, apparently, if that line of business is new models of ministry training. Not a phone call. Not an answered email. Not lunch, or even a cup of coffee.
I’ve been offering my experience (as well as the 50 years of literature on the topic I’ve read and assessed) to various groups, such as seminaries and dioceses and ventures such as the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry, for several years. I trained ministers in a non-residential part-time program, directly for the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who is precisely the former head of the third-largest Christian communion in the world (and no slacker as a theologian, either). The Archbishop of Canterbury is also the diocesan bishop, and must approve each ordinand to make sure s/he is theologically prepared to undertake public ministry. And the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury has supported my claims, in writing, to a number of the individuals with whom I have had contact on this matter.
I know how great these things can be. And I know what can go wrong. Which is pretty much everything, and a lot of things nobody would think about until they’ve been in the middle of those things going wrong. But I know what it takes to develop a non-traditional (at least in North American terms) ordination training program where the candidates for public ministry are vetted by the leader of their worldwide communion. And pass that process with flying colors.
Not many theological educators in North America have had to do that.
I’ve offered to talk about what I know.
Not quite sure what’s up with that. But there you have it.
I’m still offering. Will I give what I know for free? No (and I never indicated I would), because there’s this funny thing in the Gospels about laborers deserving their pay. But I would like to see new training initiatives flourish; sooner rather than later (because later will be too late sooner than anyone thinks). And I could help, if people were open to it, avoid a lot of pain, expense, and frustration.
So, I’m ready to talk. Who is ready to listen?
Or is that the real hypothetical–if nobody is willing to listen, is anyone really talking?