Saturday: PTA wine tasting/call my bluff evening. In a village like where I live, that is a big deal (in the sense that it seems to connect with the vast majority of 30-50 year olds, but not as in the sense that things have to be done in a certain way. It is a lot of fun). I’m looking around the room and thinking how many people there that I have some kind of connection with. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t ‘do’ these events as I think a minister ‘ought’ to be there- I like them.
For the 2nd year in a row ‘my’ team won. Last year, an all female team (apart from me) was ‘the Vicar and the vixens’, this year, a more mixed team was ‘The Vicar and the Blue Nuns’. Okay…. you had to be there….
In the pub after for some ‘after time’ (these things are possible in a village)…. I eavesdropped on a conversation between one of my group and a regular. The person in my group, an athiest I guess, was talking about ‘Messy Church’ and how his son loves to come and the regular, about a U2charist that he had been to. I’m not recounting that to put the spotlight on me (I like John Wesley on this: ‘if thou art constrained to bless the instrument; give God the glory’- which seems a useful internal corrective to believing your own publicity)……. just stepping back and watching as seeds are sown in strange ways- 2 people with no real church involvement talking about the postive impact of a church.
Several conversations over beer about God/faith/U2/’religion’…amazing….they just happened. It could be a bloke/alcohol thing….. but this happens so much lately.
I’m wondering how often these conversations take place. I’m wondering how often these conversations take place as a church seeks to orientate itself around ‘You have been blessed, now go and bless’. I’m wondering about the parable of the sower and the indiscriminate, careless sowing. That is no way to build/sustain churches on our current models or to have the wherewithal to pay a stipend, but it is awfully exciting.
I’m still confused around my role- I feel at home in these places where contacts are made and relationships built. I don’t get ‘paid’ for them, they don’t put bums on seats and they don’t (yet) bring discipleship…… but I’m praying and I’m sensing God in these places. I am a minister, but I don’t feel especially good at building a church. Give me a place where I could get into schools and places like this…. and I’d probably blog (eventually) about how I don’t ‘fit’ there….
Oh….. in case you are wondering … Methodist minister…alcohol…you can’t!!!!…. It is a wine tasting, it is a pub…go figure…