I have been thinking a bit about clergy, I realise that we do have a privileged role of being “gate-keepers” where information and people seeking to do things locally often approach us as the first port of call for engaging with the wider Church community.
As I thought about it, we end up with two types of people, the catalyst, those people that enable and facilitate other things to happen, they see ministry as trying (with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit) to see the blue touch paper of peoples callings lit.
These people are catalysts, enabling other their congregation and individuals to engage in what happens to see the Kingdom of God advance.
At its heart is what former Archbishop Rowan Williams described as “finding out what God is doing and joining in” -or at least throwing your support behind it.
when people come to something late and say “we didn’t hear about it” I normally say “we did contact your Church!” -The issue is as clergy we do get a lot of things come to and through us, but as Bishop Lee says “don’t make the decision for people”.
I wonder how many opportunities, vocations and life transforming encounters are missed because the vicar doesn’t forward on an email, or gets “lost” in his out-tray. I’m not saying it’s wilful disobedience or intentional sin but do believe far too many Kingdom opportunities die in the waste-paper baskets of the Vicars study.
“Do you know how busy I am?” is often the response to this sort of stuff, but God never tells us to reach capacity and stop, but rather to constantly “seek first the Kingdom of God”. I am convinced too that the devil is very good at creating ‘cul de sacs’ that cause ‘maximum weariness for minimum fruitfulness’, and even doing good stuff can stop us doing the great stuff.
I know too that in our churches and our lives we often focus in on our thing and see what other people are doing as a distraction, and yet by our failure to engage, our absence from the discussion deprives the body of Christ. we forget the body of Christ is bigger than our own individual fellowship or congregation. In fact we know the very heart beat of God, the prayer from the garden of Gethsemane, is for Christians to be united together.
when I was in Poole there was a large and successful Church, but the leader never once in the 4 years I was there joined with the other ministers (who met monthly to pray for the city). They rarely joined in with the other things God was doing in area, yet had so many wonderful and great resources which could have seen so many lives and communities transformed.
whereas in Bristol, the largest and most successful Church, woodlands, sees itself as a resources Church, a minster, and seeks to be a catalyst, and I believe the extent of their Kingdom faithfulness brings joy to the heart of God, and fruitfulness beyond what we can imagine.
I know that there is fear of whether or resources can be stretched further, whether our people might work with other Christians and discover the “grass is greener” and leave us, or this will create extra work when we feel a bit stressed and burned out. -Mostly these are unfounded fears, but fears none the less.
It is fear that turns us into corks, a stopper.
It is faith that turns us into catalysts.