Check your Bearings

Document Sample
Check your Bearings Powered By Docstoc
					Check your Bearings

“In Christ there is no East or West, in him no South or North …"
  (Hymnal 1940, number 263, words: John Oxenham, 1908)

   The Reverend Canon J. G. Pendorf
    (BA(Phil) magna cum laude. STB cum laude
           Parish Resources Adviser
    Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                     Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


There is the old chestnut story about a sea Captain, who became a legend in
his own life time, because he never ever issued a wrong command. When he
was on the bridge and was asked for his orders, he always gave exactly the
right order, enough so that the crew became very proud of their master and
observed him very closely to see what it was that distinguished him from all
the other masters on all the other sea lanes all around the world.

    First, they noticed that when the First Mate would ask the Captain for his
orders, he never just barked them out. He always paused for a moment - and
perhaps that is a lesson within itself - and gave himself just a bit of space.

     Second, what the Captain then did was to follow a well practiced little
drill that the crew all knew very well. He would be asked for the order. He
would pause. He would step back, furl his brow as if in deep meditation, and
then with his hand pick a little card out of his pocket no bigger than a folded
A-6 size piece of paper. He would take a look briefly at both sides of the card,
put it back into his pocket, and finally always issue exactly the right
command in any situation, whatever the prevailing conditions.

     Of course the crew reckoned that the little card was what made all the
difference between their Master and other captains on other sea lanes. They
all wondered what was on the card.

    One day as the huge ship was coming into dock, perhaps a bit too smartly
because of the wind and waves, making for a strong current with a high tide,
some of the dock hands were nervously eyeing one another and wondering if
they would have to jump out of the way. Meanwhile on the bridge all was
serene and calm as usual. The First Mate turned to the Captain for his order.
The Captain in turn did what he always did. He stood back. He furled his
brow. He reached into his pocket only to discover the card was not where it
was supposed to be.

    He instantly realised it has been left in his other jacket pocket in his day
room, so the First Mate was dispatched to collect the missing card. On his
return, the Captain glanced quickly at both sides of the card. He then put it
away safely, and then as always issued exactly the right command for the

     Of course the First Mate in bringing the card from the Captain's Day
Room could not resist taking a peak at the card himself. He was surprised to
discover a mere four words carefully lettered. Two words were on one side of
the card printed in radiant red. Two words were also as neatly printed on the
other side in glowing green. When pressed by his ship mates, the First Mate
said he really did not see what all the fuss was about; however, being

                                   Page 2 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                                               Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


threatened with actual bodily harm, he said the card just had to do with
reminding the Captains of his bearings. On the one side in green it read "Port
- Left". On the other side clearly set out in red were the words: "Starboard -

Christian Faith

    We too need to check our bearings from time to time. To do so, it is
salutary to recall the Great Commandments. You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … You shall love
your neighbour as yourself (Mt 22:37f). We are told everything else depends on
these two injunctions.

     They can be presented graphically in two dimensions. The vertical axis
can indicate a low to high (all your heart … all your soul … all your mind)
concern for God. The horizontal line can indicate a low to high concern for
the neighbour.

    This is a limited diagrammatic and static illustration of what is in fact a
dynamic state of affairs. It is also more complicated, in that there is a third
dimension directed toward a low or high esteem of self; however, for these
purposes two dimensions is sufficient to suggest we experience varied
concerns for God and people over time in different ways, There is no one
perfect style.

                              Christian Faith “Map”
                          High                                                                 High
                          NW                                                                    NE
                          Things of God
                                                                                       wHOLIstic –
        Concern for God

                          Body of Christ – altar
                                                                                         both/and –
                          Word of God –
                                   pulpit            Midlands                      Explicit/implicit –
                          catholic                                                 Example: Jesus
                                                         Awareness                         John 4:7f
                                                     of the “pull”
                                                         or tension
                                            among the other three “styles”                   People
                          done decently
                          and in order.”                                                     of God
                                                                                           Mt 25:31f
                                   1 Corinthians 14:40              No hands, feet or lips – “IBWM”
                          SW                                                                    SE
                          Low           Concern for neighbour                                 High
                                                     Figure 4.1

                                                         Page 3 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                     Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


    In Figure 4.1 five basic aspects of our Christian Faith are shown. In the
NW area there is a relatively low concern for the neighbour but a high
concern for the Things of God. This is expressed either at the altar - the Body
of Christ gathered to receive Him under the sacrament form of consecrated
bread and wine - or from the pulpit in receiving and responding to the Word
of God. Such a schema suggests that Catholics and evangelicals are in some
sense "neighbours" because they share a high concern for the divine.

     In the SE portion of the Map, there is a relatively low concern for God as
a numinous presence but a high concern for the People of God.
Theologically, the notion of the incarnation - God with us - both informs and
drives faith. The Matthew account of the Final Judgement is a classic text (Mt
25:31-46) supporting this position.

     Such an incarnational view of Christian Faith reflects the view that God
has no hands but our hands, no feet but ours, and no lips to speak but ours.
In the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich this has been expressed as a
slogan: It begins with me.

     In the SW there is a rather low concern for the Things of God as well as
the People of God; however, there is a strong desire that things are done
decently and in order (I Cor 14:40). This is how the Apostle Paul wrote to the
faithful at the Church in Corinth. There are many people who tend to specific
chores in and around the church in a dutiful and devoted way. We could
describe their dedication by acknowledging they undertake their task
religiously. This expression of Christian Faith is seen in arranging flowers,
cleaning, polishing, gardening, etc.

     In the MIDLANDS there is not a distinct awareness of an emphasis, as
there is for those located in the corners of the Map; however, there is a
heightened awareness of the "pull" or tension to the other styles. For instance,
when someone is on retreat concentrating on the Things of God, they might
well think about some of the People of God back home, especially those who
are In hospital. When travelling to the hospital to visit a sick soul, the same
person might notice something in the church grounds that needs attention.
The point is that the more one attempts to express one of the distinct styles,
the more they are attracted to one of the others, and so forth.

    In the NE both the vertical and horizontal dimensions are understood
wholistically. There is a concern both for God and for the People of God.
Explicit behaviour in one direction carries with it implicit behaviour in the
other. The best example is Jesus himself, who would carry on a conversation
with his Heavenly Father into the early hours of the morning and include the
concerns of those he had met in the market place. Later in the day, he could

                                   Page 4 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                      Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


find himself down at the well in the Market Place with the Samaritan woman
who had a number of boyfriends and who in spite of her domestic difficulties
could assure her of her Heavenly Father's love and care for her (Jn 4:7).

    These five types suggest that one size does not fit all. Nor should this
graphical representation be regarded as fixed for any one person. We all
move around on the Christian Faith over the life of our spiritual journey. The
point is that everyone can put themselves on the map and check their
bearings as to where they find themselves.

Five Marks of Mission

     Following the Lambeth Conference in 1998 some 70 million Anglicans
around the world have been offered a simple standard against which to
measure their efforts to live out their Christian lives. The five marks were not
intended to be a selective "pick 'n mix", as the stop (period) came after the last
one. They are all compatible with various areas of the Christian Faith Map,
Figure 4.2. It can be used as a backdrop against which to appreciate their
relationship one to another.

     Proclaiming (Tell) the Good News in word and deed is a classic activity
for Christians who’s Faith is driven by a high concern for the Things of God
(NE). Responding (Tend) to human need in loving service in and through
local communities is an appropriate action for those who feel a strong concern
for the People of God (SE).

     Transforming unjust structures of society would suit those who want
things to be done decently and in order (SW). Safeguarding creation, as well
as sustained and renewing the earth (Treasure) fits the Midlands approach to
Christian Faith because there is an attempt to balance a number of interests.
Nurture and teaching new believers is a holistic way to work out one's own
salvation in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).

     There five mission emphases are more or less compatible with the five
different Christian Faith styles; however, this should not be misconstrued so
that for instance a person who is keen that things should be done decently
and in order would not be interested in telling the Good News. He or she
might well want to engage with such a mission emphasis, but they way in
which it was delivered would undoubtedly be well structured and tidily

Christian Stewardship

     If "Mission" - however it is understood - is the fruit of evangelism, then

                                    Page 5 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                          Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


resourcing Is the consequence of stewardship.        Evangelism                   without
stewardship is a disembodied joy, full of energy and spirit, but                 with no
practical means of expressing Itself.    Similarly, stewardship                   without
evangelism is a soulless wonder, very efficient but with no real                 sense of
direction or purpose.

                   Five Marks of Mission
               NW                                                 NE
               Tell - Proclaim                           Nurture and
               the                                            Teach
               Good                    Midlands                       new
               News                    Treasure                  believers
                                  Safeguard creation
                                   and sustain and                Tend -
                                   renew the earth.              Respond
                                                                to human
               Transform unjust                    need in loving service
               structures of society
               SW                                                      SE

                                       Figure 4.2

     Again, these can be "mapped" against the background of the five various
approaches to Christian Faith. As a detailed example, three figures follow.
They set out the motives, standards, and programmes associated with
Christian Stewardship; however, the same sort of depiction could be
developed for evangelism, and indeed a host of other church related
activities, such as Confirmation preparation, Bible study, etc.

     If a person has a high concern for the Things of God, he or she would no
doubt want to respond to God's overflowing generosity in his or her life;
however, if an individual felt strongly that things should be done decently and
in order, then he or she would want to see a proper sharing of the work
required, being very practical and realistic. If the People of God drove one's
approach to Faith, any response would have to provide care for those in real
need. Those with a wholistic style would want to contribute faithfully,
whereas those attempting a life balance would give as much as they were able
whenever they could.

     In terms of levels of giving, again the mapping in Figure 4.4 helps us

                                       Page 6 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                                     Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


appreciate no one size fits all. For instance proportionate giving or tithing
would best suit someone in the NW with a high concern for the Things of God.
In the MIDLANDS a person attempting to keep a balance in his or her life
might consider the General Synod of the Church of England's 50/50 standard
based on 5% of take-home pay in and through God's local church.

                        Stewardship Motives
                   NW                                                                  NE
                   Respond gratefully to God’s
                   generosity proportionate giving
                   to God’s                                                        faithfully
                   glory and                  Midlands                        “whatever His
                   the good of
                   all His Church                                            Church needs”
                                             Better Balance
                                                “as much as I can,          Care better for
                   Proper sharing                whenever I can”               one another
                   of the work
                                                                            “help those who
                   “practical and realistic”                              are less fortunate”

                   SW                                                                   SE

                                                  Figure 4.3
     In the SE an individual might find the so-called One Hour Principle useful
by offering an hour a week in personal prayer, study, community service, and
an hour's earnings, being 2½% of a forty hour work week. Both the SW and
the NE base giving on more than fractions. In the NE it is a matter of total
commitment (110+%), not just a contribution, that demands soul, life, and all
(Isaac Watts 1674-1748). In the SW giving is related to value of and for money
by relating giving to outcomes worthy of support.
     Christian Faith, Motives for Giving, Standards of Giving, and Giving
Programmes can all be seen in line with one another. For instance, when
there is a relatively high concern for the Things of God (NW), proportionate
giving including tithing is most appropriately emphasised in God's House
during Sunday worship. There would be a strong biblical message with little
if any reference on getting what one pays for. On the other hand, small
(house) groups would provide a context for those with a high concern for the
People of God (SE) to consider offering various hours a week in service, prayer,
study, etc., and wage. There might also be a strong emphasis on time and
talents - not in lieu of financial support but as a tangible way to help people in

                                               Page 7 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                             Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


     People concerned that things are done decently and in order (SW) will
respond to a direct marketing approach. A carefully prepared and personal
series of letters stressing the importance of sharing the work and costs
associated with the local church can be extremely effective. The Diocese of
Southwark introduce The Responsibility Is Ours ("TRIO") package more than
fifteen years ago, and it is still proving its worth, along with one of its
successors, Giving Enables Mission ("GEM").

                       Standards of Giving
              NW                                                             NE
              10% (Proportionate Giving)
                                                                          110% +
                           1 Corinthians 16:2
                                                                   i.e., sacrifice,
              Individually IBWM
                                       Midlands                      commitment
              Proportionately        General Synod –
              Purposefully          5% through church
              Value of and                                                 2½ %
              for money            Balance all your many               One hour
              i.e., you get            commitments.                    principle
              what you pay                                                 prayer
              for e.g., cost of                                           worship
              “non-essentials”                                              study

              SW                                                             SE

                                        Figure 4.4

                                         Page 8 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                              Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


        Christian Giving Programmes
               NW                                                            NE
               Sundays                                    Large Gathering usually
                                                                      preceded by
               in God’s
               House with
                                         Midlands                    a conference
               Personal                Made to Measure               e.g., “S.O.S.”
                                         One-off design
               Written                   using elements
               Word                                                Small (House)
                                              from the four
               a personal                                                 Groups
               series with            corners (NE, NW, SW, SE)
                                                                    e.g., CPAS ...
               witness to
               “do as we do”                                   ASA “Full Measure”
               e.g., “T.R.I.O.”, “G.E.M.”, etc.
               SW                                                            SE

                                          Figure 4.5

     If there is a more wholistic (NE) Christian Faith style in a congregation, a
large gathering - perhaps around a social occasion such as a supper, and
proceeded by a parish conference - could well provide the context for a
message that encouraged sacrifice as a key part of commitment. This thought
would simply not be readily received throughout a mailing. If people were
attempting to balance all their many commitments (MIDLANDS), the Church of
England's recommended half tithe through the local church could be
communicated through a customised programme incorporating features of
the other four ways of delivering a stewardship message, and blending
various elements based on a local survey of the predominant Christian Faith

     In helping a congregation to respond realistically, regularly, and readily
in their financial support of god's work in and through their church, it is
important to "match" motives, standards, and programmes to the
predominate Christian Faith pattern. For instance, an exhortation in a written
letter (SW) to tithe (NW) has little chance of a positive response unless it is
also put across in preaching. Similarly, if there is a requirement to pay the bills
(SW), using the sermon to make an appeal with a display of pie charts and
other financial information often proves counter productive, because church
goers' expectation is to be inspired by their worship not to be given a
commercial "pitch". Congruence between method and message optimises the

                                          Page 9 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                          Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


possibilities for a successful conclusion to a stewardship programme, and it
starts by being clear about the local Christian Faith pattern.

Cognitive styles and collaboration among Church of England Clergy

     And they cast lots ... and the lot fell on Matthias (Acts 1:26)

    Since the days of the early Church described in the New Testament the
selection, training, and deployment for full time ordained ministry has
become institutionalised in a way that appears to remove (divine) chance in
favour of (human) choice -- at least in the Church of England now twenty
centuries away from its origins. One criterion of choice applied is a capacity
to relate and work with others, i.e., collaboration. Although Selection
Conferences for ordination in the Church of England use three types of
observed group work as an indicator of collaborative skill, when making
clergy appointments it is generally assessed exclusively on the basis of
interviews and references from colleagues.

    It might seem that a selection/training/deployment approach based
largely on personal observation and testimonies would be rather subjective
and lack coherence; nevertheless, research suggests that in fact clergy in the
Church of England - regardless of age or gender - tend to reflect a
predominant personality type and cognitive style. In other words, there is a
high degree of predictability that ordained people in the Church of England
think in similar ways related to aspects of their work and behaviour in social

     Unfortunately, such homogeneity as to clergy type may be more
appropriate in a traditional parochially based church than in an increasingly
changing and collaborative one. One parson living in a parsonage serving a
population from one parish church is very different from a multiple structure
in which congregations are served by a collective of clergy who are expected
to function corporately and in concert one with another.

    In the Church of England there are some 16,000 churches organised into
about 13,000 parishes serviced by approximately 8,700 "benefices" related to
an individual ordained cleric. This means that there are many more
pulpits/altars than active clergy, at just over 10,000. Of this number some
20% serve in an assistant capacity with other ordained colleagues. An
additional 13% of clergy are deployed in what are referred to as "Team" and
"Group" ministries.

                                       Page 10 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                       Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


     There are over 1,350 clergy serving in Teams with more than one church
building and/or worship centre. By definition in church law, these team
members are obliged to function collaboratively with all the ordained
colleagues in their Team. Perhaps surprising, in a survey of over 2,500 clergy
almost three-quarters indicated that they had very little formal training in
working closely with ordained colleagues. Moreover, they did not express
any great willingness to undergo further in-service training on working more
closely with their ordained colleagues.

     According to responses from Continuing Ministerial Education ("CME")
Officers in the forty-four dioceses making up the Church of England there is a
minimal effort and expenditure of time and money on training in peer
collaboration among clergy in Teams and Groups. This is in stark contrast to
the very high degree that clergy rate working closely with laity, as would be
expected in a parochially oriented church.

    Generally, Church of England clergy see their aim as building up the
body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). They also regard themselves as concerned
about the things of God (NE). Underlying such views are the thought processes
each cleric uses to organise information -- theological and otherwise.

     Knowing the manner by which concepts and ideas are thought can
enable more appropriate responses in given situations, since perception
precedes performance, and cognitive style provides the structure for framing
feelings and behaviour. Church of England clergy seem no more aware than
anyone else in the population at large as to how they think, their cognitive
style, or the way they take in and use information. This is the case, e.g., when
deploying Church of England clergy, especially in Teams and Groups.

    Dr. Richard Riding, a Chartered Psychologist at the University of
Birmingham, maintains that the way people think is linked to using certain
parts of the brain rather than other parts and that it is an innate characteristic.
That is to say, the way a person thinks reflects a fundamental style or pattern
by which experiences are assimilated and used to formulate attitudes,
behaviour, and feelings.

Wholist and Analytic Cognitive Styles

    One of two fundamental cognitive style dimensions refers to whether or
not information is understood in whole or parts. Such a differentiation is as
old as Greek philosophy in which Plato emphasized the universal in the Ideal,
whereas his student Aristotle stressed the particular in everyday observances.

                                    Page 11 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                     Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


     Some people tend to see the proverbial wood before the trees, and they
have been termed as Wholist. Taking in the big picture means that often
distinctions are blurred as unimportant, so for instance hard and soft woods
are regarded simply as timber; yet anyone who works with wood making -
say fine furniture - would favour perhaps maple or oak over plywood or
chipboard. Other people start with detail from which they then construct a
wider view. In the language of educational psychologists, a person who sees
the proverbial trees in the wood is described as having an Analytic cognitive
style. Because they are very good at going right to the heart of a matter,
sometimes they have a distorted and/or unbalanced view in relation to
surrounding material, e.g., the steward concerned about deck chairs being in
neat rows on the Titanic.
    Both ways of thinking illustrated briefly above are connected on a
continuum with a similar portion of the population at neither one end nor the
other, and this in between style is known as Intermediate. According to
Riding, there is a uniform spread right across the entire range of a continuum,
with testing that shows broadly as many people with a Wholist as with an
Analytic and as with an Intermediate cognitive style.
    Findings based on a Cognitive Style Analysis (CSA) computer assessment
of more than 2% of Church of England clergy do not reflect this general
pattern of thirds. Instead, some 14% seem to take in information as a whole,
whereas 58% tend to see situations as a collection of parts and often focus on a
few aspects at a time to the exclusion of other elements. Those with an
Intermediate cognitive style between either extreme are somewhat less
represented at 28% of those tested.

     Again according to Riding, Analytics can quickly perceive similarities
and differences in a situation; however, this also means that they can readily
lose the proverbial wood for the trees by distorting one aspect in relation to
the whole. In both learning and communicating to other people with this
cognitive style Analytics tend to be structured, organised, and systematic. In
a team role the Analytic type tends to function as a problem solver with a
particular concern for feasibility and practicability in terms of available
resources; however, there is a preference towards organising oneself rather
than being organised by others.
     At the other end of the continuum, those clergy with a Wholist cognitive
style normally maintain an overall perspective in a team situation, often
offering a balanced and refined view of plans in order to achieve goals. There
is frequently sensitivity to wider implications, placing group actions in a
larger and perhaps theological context.

                                  Page 12 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                        Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


Verbal and Imagery Cognitive Styles

     There is one other principle dimension to the way people think, and that
is how they represent information taken in -- either in whole or in parts -- by
words or pictures. Those who are Verbal often tend to learn better by reading
instructions, whereas Imagers more readily follow pictorial directions.

    Riding has found that Verbalisers focus their thoughts in words
externally to others in stimulating conversation, whereas Imagers are more
passive in social and work relationships, preferring a more fixed/stable
environment. The former readily mix with people, whereas the later tend to
view themselves set apart from others. Verbalisers appear to be more
extroverted with Imagers being more introverted, but such a basic way of
representing information does not seem to correlate significantly with the
characteristic Introverted Myers Briggs personality/psychological type for
clergy and the results described below.
    Interestingly, those clergy who have undertaken the Cognitive Style
Analysis (CSA) computer assessment more or less mirrored the general
population with 34% scoring as Verbalisers, 32% as Imagers, and 34% in
between as Bimodals.        It would appear that selection, training, and
deployment of clergy in the Church of England is non-discriminating in terms
of how people represent information they have taken in. It accords with the
national church in England being the Via Media, signified in its public
buildings by font/altar, pulpit, and lectern.

     Although not specifically within the scope of this study, it would be
expected that Protestant Reformed Churches with a more exclusive emphasis
on preaching the Word of God might in fact select, train, and deploy more
clergy who were Verbalisers than Imagers. That is to say, those with a natural
ability to articulate the Gospel would be well received in a church where
clarity of expression from the pulpit was singularly valued.

     In the study undertaken in the late 1990’s, 24% of Church of England
clergy have an Analytic/Verbal style. The next most frequently encountered
style found is Analytic/ Imager among 22% of those tested. Those with an
Analytic/Bimodal style were also significantly represented by 18% of those
undertaking the CSA. Overall less than 1% was Wholist/Verbalisers
compared with 11% in the general population.

     If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. (Bernard M. Baruch)

    If cognitive style is understood as a tool, the question of right or wrong
does not arise, as every tool is more or less useful in some situations than

                                     Page 13 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                       Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


others. For instance, spanners are better with nuts than hammers, and
similarly nails are driven home without any ado with a properly sized
hammer. What is important is to have a whole range of tools available rather
than a variety of only one sort. This metaphor holds as much for cognitive
styles, the ways people process information, as it does for mechanical

     In Church of England parishes based on one parson, one parish church,
and one congregation there is every likelihood that a range of cognitive styles
is reflected in those making up the Church Council's Standing Committee:
Vicar, Churchwardens, Secretary, and Treasurer; however, in Team and
Group Ministries there are "chapters" of like manner thinking -- not
necessarily like minded -- members who often have blind spots in terms of
processing information, due to their probably not readily seeing the wood for
the trees. Use of the CSA computer assessment in Teams and Groups
indicates that a breadth of cognitive styles corresponds with a satisfactory and
supportive situation with significantly less stress than experienced in
circumstances where styles are similar.

     Good collaboration consists of communication, commitment, and
creativity along with complementary (not competitive) cognitive styles.
Currently clergy in the Church of England are selected, trained, and deployed
in such a way that there are almost twice the number who think in detailed
parts than in wholes. This means that without using something like the CSA,
at the moment the odds are a third of the clergy obliged to work together are
more than twice as likely to be alongside someone ordained with a similar
Analytic style: perhaps too many hammers and not enough spanners!

    Alternatively, too many analytics in a team are not unlike three blind
people all attempting to describe an elephant to one another from different
ends. They don't necessarily fall out. Still, one feels the bulk as solid as a
wall; another finds the tail as flexible as a piece of rope; and the third fixes on
the tree likeness of a leg. Such a situation is perhaps more appropriate to
yesterday's parochial church than tomorrow's corporate/ collaborative

     In November 1993 the General Synod passed further legislation on Teams
and Group Ministries. On the assumption that there is no real going back to a
time when clergy were virtually on their own, there are at least two ways
forward. One concerns those already deployed, and the other those still to be
selected and trained for future deployment in the twenty-first century when
the institutional national church will need to be financially self sufficient and
more responsive than ever to the context of a multi-cultural and pluralistic

                                    Page 14 of 16 
The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                     Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


Cognitive Strategy

     Although awareness of cognitive style and use of the CSA as such could
not possibly insure harmonious and collegial working relationships, increased
understanding of who one is and how others are likely to see one's self, can
serve to limit an "arc of distortion" and misunderstanding. This will not in
itself bring in the Kingdom of God, but it just might remove a hidden barrier
to collaboration and solidarity in Christian fellowship (koinonia).

    It is also possible to develop ways that make the most of in-built natural
ways to process and represent information.           This is perhaps seen
unconsciously, for instance, in the increased use of overhead projectors
during sermons, so that Verbalisers, Bimodals, and Imagers -- all may
respond to the mighty works of God.

     In Teams and Groups an increased awareness of cognitive styles can lead
to task differentiation more closely aligned to strengths than limitations. This
has been found to be readily recognised in clergy Teams where a mix of
cognitive styles already exists; however, it has also been discovered in clergy
Teams with a predominant Analytic cognitive style that extra effort is
required to cope with the frustration of too many hammers for too few nails.
In such a situation the addition of a further member with a complementary
cognitive style, e.g., Wholist, has enhanced the degree of collaboration
possible. That is to say, a dreamer of dreams (Joel) needs to collaborate with
someone who can think through implementing detail (Paul) - cf. I Cor 12:4f.

    Nationally, the Church of England looks to its Advisory Board for
Ministry ("ABM") to develop selection criteria for the ordained ministry into
the next millennium. Currently, ABM is considering personnel assessment
procedures used in other professions, and the then ABM Chief Secretary has
himself undertaken the CSA, for which I am most grateful.

    It seems that current interview based selection has produced many more
ordinands with an Analytic cognitive style than others over the full range.
This could limit collaborative capacities in the increasing number of Team and
Group Ministries being created, so perhaps ABM may in time offer the
insights of cognitive styles and the CSA assessment as one among a number
of facilitating instruments in the selection, training, and deployment of
Church of England clergy. Both Post Ordination Training ("POT") and CME
especially for Teams and Groups would then be able to build on this aspect of
cognitive styles and collaboration among clergy so that those with the
appropriate tools will be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).

                                  Page 15 of 16 
   The Reverend Canon Jim Pendorf                                          Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 


       (Note: Originally this article on cognitive styles and team development
   Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 1995, as part of my post-graduate independent
   research at Birmingham University.)

       Riding, RJ, (1991), Personal Style Awareness and Personal Development,
   Birmingham. Learning & Training Technology; also, (1994), Cognitive Style
   Analysis, Birmingham, Learning & Training Technology.


       Checking our bearings is not quite as simple as reading a direction off a
   compass or knowing our right hand from our left; however, being aware of
   the collective Christian Faith style can provide a reference point or chart on
   which can be plotted a course of action, such as a stewardship programme.
   Also, knowing one's own cognitive style can enable more effective
   communication by compensating for the fact that some people are better able
   to receive and respond to images than words and/or detail rather than big
   ideas. All this together can enhance collaboration in and through the local

                              Diocesan Secretary and Chief Executive Officer: Nicholas P. Edgell
Diocesan Office · St Nicholas Centre ·4 Cutler Street ·Ipswich ·IP1 1UQ ·Tel: +44 (0) 1473 298504 · Fax +44 (0) 1473 298501
                    Email: · Website:
    St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich Diocesan Board of Finance · A Company limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity
                             Registered in England Reg. No. 143034. Registered Office as above

Shared By:
Description: Check your Bearings