"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
June 11, 2005

Outsourcing Clergy

This afternoon I picked up a copy of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman writer of the ultimate late-adapter’s guide to globalisation The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Friedman’s latest offering again starts off presenting the obvious as insight (we need a neologism for that): are we meant to be surprised that smart folks […]

This afternoon I picked up a copy of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman writer of the ultimate late-adapter’s guide to globalisation The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Friedman’s latest offering again starts off presenting the obvious as insight (we need a neologism for that): are we meant to be surprised that smart folks in bangalore are processing our tax returns on behalf of our accountants?. As Friedman moved on to outline exactly the same thesis for which jobs may be prone to outsourcing in the future that I have read at least fifty times over the last five years a thought ocourred to me; the church needs to outsource!

Clearly certain segments of the church have dire financial problems, so why not outsource? A lot of denominational drudgery could be offshored, not to me mention all that tedious creation of overheads, church bulletins, writing up deacon’s minutes and what have you. In fact, given the insane cost of funding bishops and other high ranking roles, whys not outsource their operations? Oversight via optical cable perhaps?

Of course, all this is brazenly tounge-in-cheek, but I do hope to raise some issues as well. I do honestly believe, to borrow Friedman’s metaphor, that churches are too often fixated on the olive tree, on local debates and problems. Imagine for a moment what we could do if we truly globalised our faith-expressions? What if we did outsource parts of theological education to India (which has a rich heritage in this area)? What if we did harness the power of videoconferencing to provide pastoral care and support from any point in the globe? What if we did look for insight wherever God was most at work in the world, instead of always assuming our backyard was the most fertile place?

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