29th September 2014
Being a minister is great. In essence it’s about trying to help other people find their way to God. This is exactly what my life was about before I was a minister – when I was a hospital porter / geology student / school science technician / college registrar but now I get to do it full time. The hours are antisocial, sometimes it’s difficult switching off & you frequently get closer to lives and relationships in the church and community than is comfortable. But the struggles are massively outweighed by the privilege of seeing people finding God and sharing in their lives as they consequently find their feet in life and in death.
However, there is one difficulty which I don’t think I’ve ever really expressed in my ten years of ministry to date. When you are a minister there is a generally unspoken niggling suspicion that you are following Jesus because it’s your job. Like this strange talk of resurrection, God living in us and personal / social / global transformation in Jesus is the product of a theological education and a professional office. “You would say that because you have to say that.” Part of my response to this is that I don’t just say and do this stuff when I’m at church. I talk about church and about God with the neighbours and the football dads and with the mountain bikers and anyone else who will listen. It’s also worth saying that my decision to become a follower of Jesus predates my first job as a minister by 15 years.
Occasionally I’ve suspected the same thing of myself. I guess it’s inevitable that a vocation which requires you to know God can raise the question in your own mind of how much of this is me and how much is my role. But it doesn’t take me much time out to remember that I really do believe this stuff. Nothing I’ve learned or done in the last 10 years has changed my conviction that God not only created me, but loves me and has a purpose for my life (you & yours too). I still believe that the good news of Jesus is God’s power & wisdom to save the world. And it doesn’t take a great deal of listening out for him to hear his voice – in creation, in the bible, in the church, in the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit in me, calling me not only to minister but to know him as my heavenly Father.
So just in case you were wondering. If I invite you to the Alpha course, or offer to pray for you, or tell you what I think God is saying, it’s because I really do believe in Jesus. I really do think he’s the ultimate revelation of God and that he’s calling you and me and everyone to be reconciled to our estranged Heavenly Father.