Today, Iowa became the
fourth third state (sorry CA) to have marriage equality. Regardless of your opinions on the issue, there’s a hacking moment in the decision that is important for Churches to hear when it comes to evaluating ministry standards and effectiveness.
The Supreme Court based their decision on equal protection under the law:
The process of defining equal protection, as shown by our history as captured and told in court decisions, begins by classifying people into groups. A classification persists until a new understanding of equal protection is achieved. The point in time when the standard of equal protection finally takes a new form is a product of the conviction of one, or many, individuals that a particular grouping results in inequality and the ability of the judicial system to perform its constitutional role free from the influences that tend to make society’s understanding of equal protection resistant to change.
As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes poignantly said, “It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV. It is still more revolting if the grounds upon which it was laid down have vanished long since, and the rule simply persists from blind imitation of the past.”
- Is the only basis for a ministry that it was laid down eons ago?
- Has the relevant group of ministry creators or recipients moved on?
- Has the structure and “way of doing things” of the ministry been a “blind imitation” since its inception?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then perhaps a review is in order. We divide ministry into groups like society divides people into groups. And perhaps when we really look at the standards of ministry, we may see that we are not ministering effectively or faithfully to our current congregation or community. And it may be time to change it.
Thoughts on ministry innovation, seeking relevant ministry, and removing barriers from irrelevant ministry standards? Discuss in the comments or on Google Connect!