The Church - A Ship in the Sea of Life
- The Church - A Ship in the Sea of Life
Greek Orthodox Priest Aris Metrakos, formerly a ship’s captain, maintains
that 85% of all churches can be compared to luxury cruise liners, when they
should be more like battleships:
Cruise ships and battleships. What could be more simple and clear? Think
about what happens on a cruise ship. We don't do any work. Someone takes
care of every need. Every event (except for lifeboat training) is optional.
We have no responsibilities and no accountability.
Isn't this the way most people approach Church? Developing and executing
services and programs is someone else's job. We go to services once or
twice a year and still call ourselves "members." All work falls under the
job description of the paid staff or core volunteers, so we have no
Then there's the battleship. The warship has a life or death mission. Every
member of the crew has a job that must be done to the best of his ability.
Everyone must work together because they depend on one another for the
success of the mission and mutual survival.
A healthy parish must see itself as a battleship. The mission of the Church
is life and death. We are called to bring the Gospel to the world and to
provide for those in need. No other vocation is as critical or crucial.
Each member of the "crew" has a divine calling to define and fill his
particular niche in the life of the parish. And when members do not work
together, they jeopardize both the work of the Church and their salvation.
Anyone who has spent time aboard a cruise ship and a warship knows that the
ways of life onboard the two respective vessels are polar opposites. Cruise
ship passengers are relaxed, tanned, and well-fed. Battleship sailors are
sleep-deprived, present a neglected appearance, and are edgy. No one in his
right mind would vacation on a battleship.
(from the Parish Bulletin of the Russian Orthodox Church of Transfiguration
of our Lord, Baltimore, MD)