apathy, Desperate, Hungry

Vicars with rumbling stomachs.

The Turning Mission was fantastic, and at the end of two weeks out in the community we came together for a celebration service at the City Centre Elim Church, and Pastor Yinka got all the Vicars and Ministers up on the stage to pray over the city of Bristol. I think all of us felt a bit self conscious up on this stage. As I looked around I was conscious of something (and this maybe going to cause me a load of flack!) most of us were people who weren’t leading the all singing all dancing mega Churches (there was barely a cheno or rugby shirt in sight!) and most of our contexts are hard graft.

I remembered at the very beginning of the Turning, when there was a Pastors lunch with Pastor Yinka, and all the shiny important Pastors turned up, and yet from that original crowd, there were only a couple who were there at the leaders lunch.

As I looked around further I noticed that some of these guys had been in ministry a while, I knew some of them had had some battles, there was something humble about these guys, no cockiness of Pastors thinking they have all the answers or smugness of the “sorted Churches”. I thought as I looked around and we came from different streams and styles, but I thought the thing that unites us on the stage, and the tribe worshipping who’d undertaken the mission, was we were hungry, we were desperate to see God move, we didn’t think that a new coffee machine and a re-brand of Alpha was going to change the cities fortunes instead as I looked around these were the guys who gave up their Saturday mornings at 7:00 to pray.

If I ever interviewed a person for a Vicar job the question would be, how hungry are you for a move of God?

I think that part of the reason we struggle in the west with growing healthy Christ-like Churches is we aren’t hungry for Christ.

Jesus himself calls us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” -I’ve never been starving like we see these tragic cases on the telly, but have been really, really hungry and know how hunger or thirst can be an all consuming passion, a desperation. I felt as I looked around the room, the reason why the Turning worked is that people were desperate for Jesus, they were passionate about a move of God.

There is a song that has the lines “I desperate for you, and I’m lost without you” and the number of times I’ve heard it sung in a manner where it sounds anything but desperate.

More over, the ‘script sceptic’ in some of us Pastors, brought us to a point where we either became full of ourselves and walked away or emptied ourselves of our “sortedness and so called wisdom” and learned what God had to teach us… Perhaps, I wonder, if the script is a bit like a ‘Gideon test’ that shows our teachability, and when we come humbly we are in a position to be used by God. I remember once hearing someone say “God can’t fill you with himself if you’re already crammed full with yourself”. Another picture I read once said “A flute is just a stick that has learned to empty themselves”.

These truths aren’t just true for Pastors but for everyone, but maybe just more evident and obvious in us.

So, what is the key ingredient of the Turning, isn’t about the scripts, or the programme, but ultimately about people surrendering fully and completely to Jesus and letting him be glorified through people whose only qualification is the desperateness of the heart to see him at work in his world.