Am taking a few minutes out of my Sunday to blog, normally this is family time, but i have a shed load of expenses to sort out - now have realised that my regular overdraft is pretty much what i am owed due to not having submitted an expenses claim for three months.
In an effort to delay the inevitable facts and figures sorting I'm here to share a few reflections on my Sunday experience.
Was interested this morning when i arrived to take my second service of the morning when one of the congregation asked if one my colleagues was coming back soon or whether she was on maternity leave. I did explain that her due date wasn't until February and that she only occasionally visited that particular parish and asked why he was so concerned. He responded 'her sermons are very erudite..' Of course i took the bait and asked 'so what are mine?' to which he responded (with some enthusiasm) 'yours are very practical and laid back and straightforward' to which i mumbled something about saving my erudition for my blog - but he continued 'well another of your colleagues is very earnest, it shines out of him, and his sermons are getting better'. He then went on to say how good it was that all the preachers were different and that it would be very boring if we were all the same and that we were complementary as a team.
So something that i could have taken as a criticism (though why i would have wanted to be thought of as erudite is beyond me) turned out to be a very positive reflection of our shared ministry in this team. I am slightly bemused by his idea that i am laid-back, because although that is my style of leading services, my sermons lately have been somewhat strident as i have felt the need to challenge the attitudes of a few of my congregations. Which is part of the prophetic ministry we all have in leadership...(I leave that statement there in the hope that someone out there will bite).
Whilst i am at it, a couple of weeks ago i took a service during which i had a real 'sock it to 'em' sermon. I don't take the credit for this, it really did feel 'inspired', and it was an exciting sermon to prepare and preach. On the way out one of our thoughtful young people who makes it to church every now and then said 'great sermon, thanks' whilst the person who followed him said simply 'you're not getting any smaller are you?'
The highs and lows of Parish ministry!