As I write this, I’m at the end of the fourth week of my ministry experience year/internship with St Nicholas Church, Bawtry and the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham’s Younger Leadership College. There is now a website for this, which can be found at: http://youngerleadershipcollege.org/
Last week the focus on the teaching morning in Nottingham, as well as this week’s supervision session with Jonathan, was based on prayer. In particular, we were studying Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline and his comments on prayer there. It has been brilliant to reflect on the power and purpose of prayer, and even to talk to someone on the street about it and pray for them!
As I’ve gone forward over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been involved in all sorts of meetings, evenings and church services. It has been busy; I’ve not worked full time before so it’ll take a while for me to adjust! But amongst all of the business I was also privileged enough to observe Jonathan conducting a funeral and a wedding, and these events were really what hit things home for me. The more I see and learn, the more convinced I am by the importance of the statement made by the St Nicholas Bawtry page on a church near you: “prayer is at the heart of everything we do”.
As a priest, I could spend all of my time doing things and yet achieve nothing. I can’t necessarily expect to do everything, or bring everyone to faith or grow a church on my own back. What I can do is pray, and in doing so live a life that is centred on becoming closer to Jesus and showing others the power of his love and mercy. I’m not looking to be some sort or big boss or executive leader; I perceive a hugely important part of ministry as being a facilitator. I can’t necessarily make sure everyone comes to church, but what I can do is pray for them, show them God’s love, baptise them, serve them communion, laugh and cry with them, marry them, bury them. This is a public office centred on public service. And it’s so important not to try and measure my effectiveness by my own sense of achievement and productivity, but rather to do the hard thing of praying and believing, walking with others, and doing my best to do all I can to help them in their relationship with God.
Maybe next week I’ll properly look at the sorts of questions I should be answering, but thinking about all of this seemed more important today.