From the Revd Dr Sam Cappleman
Sir, - The articles and letters about the Green report, and the
article by the Revd Dr Edward Dowler on the use of statistical data
December), indicate that the Church's relationship with
business and management principles remains strained and
One of the reasons for this is surely that business, by
definition, is a "for profit" organisation, while the Church is an
organisation that is better categorised as "for benefit". This
difference is critical, as the factors that motivate people within
these organisations can be very different, as are the appropriate
metrics and indicators to show whether progress is being made
against a given strategy or set of objectives.
Mixing up these organisational models can lead to confusion and
an over-dependence on the wrong type of measures and processes. It
is far too easy, for example, to fall back on the metrics that are
easily measurable (usually quantifiable and numeric) rather than
those that may be more meaningful pointers of progress, but can be
more qualitative and difficult to measure.
Projects such as British Religion in Numbers and the Green
report offer important lenses through which we can view the Church
and its organisational structures and development. But there are
other equally important lenses for the Church to use, too, such as
theology, scripture, doctrine, and our rich and broad
ecclesiological models and traditions, which, as the Revd Justin
Lewis-Anthony mentioned (Comment, same issue), may have something
to contribute in their own right to business.
Across the Lee Abbey Movement, we are working to understand the
most appropriate events and indicators to help us reflect on our
ministry and mission, and to put them in place in an appropriate
format, most likely that of a Guidance Scorecard. This structure
has both lagging indicators (what has happened and what actions may
need to be taken, moving forward) and leading indicators (those
metrics that give us insight into the current and likely future
state of the ministry, and the actions that they, too, might
precipitate). This is not easy, and should not be rushed; but
neither should it be deferred.
If, as Churches and Christian organisations, we are serious
about our ministry, we should see it as an important component of
that mission and ministry to understand whether those things we
believe we are being called and enabled by God to do are leading to
the desired outcomes.
If not, what needs to be modified in order that they do, and so
enable God's Kingdom to grow - as a result of appropriately
measured and reviewed actions and plans inspired by a genuine
desire for more people to experience increasingly Christ's
Executive Chair, Lee Abbey Movement
107 Dover Crescent, Bedford MK41 8QR
From the Revd Steve Axtell
Sir, - Catching up on the Green-report controversy, I see in
Dean Percy's article (Comment, 12 December) a reference to the Wash
House at Lambeth as a "secretariat that once served the Church".
One occupant of the Wash House is the Clergy Appointments Adviser,
whom I have dealt with twice when looking for a change of job.
Let me tell you: when you have been beaten up and bruised and
labelled yourself a failure as a result of the competitive
interview process current in the Church, this office may be where
your faith is restored; for you will be taken as the person,
priest, and pastor that you are rather than being measured against
another; and valued for yourself rather than for what you might
achieve in the next four years as compared with the next
I hope and pray that this particular secretariat continues to
serve the Church for years to come, and, if it maintains its
current ethos and values, I wouldn't mind its becoming sovereign,
St Mary's Vicarage, Salisbury Street, Workington, Cumbria
From Dr Rolfe King
Sir, - Is the problem not so much with the training of bishops
as the existing diocesan structure of management, and the
undervaluing of the gift of administration?
The apostles were to devote themselves to preaching the gospel
and teaching, not management and administration. They appointed
helpers at an appropriate level to the problems facing them, with
an appropriate level of authority and powers. The helpers were
there to release the apostles from such matters. Is there now an
equivalent for bishops today in each diocese?
It seems that the theological solution would be to find the
right structure first, and then the people, the managers who could
appropriately serve the Bishop and the whole diocese, and then work
out training needs from that.
11 Petworth Court, Rustington BN16 2LF