Mr Greene, author of the classic book about ministry in the workplace, Thank God It's Monday (Scripture Union, 1994), brilliantly described the unwritten therapeutic contract between congregations and their pastors.
You, pastor, will look after me and support me and affirm me and in return I will come along to church and support your ministry.
Mr Greene of course affirmed that pastors should look after their people but pointed out that the pastor's God-given vocation is to be a disciple-maker, a calling that cuts across the pastoral expectation of most congregations.
People generally will not leave churches because the pastor neglected to make them better disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ; they will generally leave churches because the pastor broke the therapeutic contract by upsetting them.
This liberating explanation by Mr Greene explains the tension in pastoral ministry experienced by those of us frontline clergy who want to be disciple-makers rather than amateur therapists. Being faithful to the Lord Jesus involves subverting the pastoral contract and that carries a personal cost by the pastor, which must be courageously paid.
Your curate suggests it would be very useful if Mr Greene were to explain the concept of the unwritten therapeutic contract to church congregations, clearly a more difficult and prophetic task than explaining it to clergy.
Blogging off for the next few weeks, cc wishes the youth group a fruitful summer, especially in those parts of the United Kingdom where a hose pipe ban remains in force, and leaves you with the BCP Collect for the fifth Sunday after Trinity (desperately urgent for UK Christians):
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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