Ministry is like a Stanley Cup hockey game going into the third overtime period. There are a handful of exhausted players who could really use some rest being watched by crowds of people who could really use some exercise!
When we were pondering planting what has become Up Town Church the idea of ‘every member ministry’ was important to our thinking. If we were going to see something fresh launched the concept that we are all called to ministry must be part of the DNA of the fresh expression. As the Church began to form I prayed long and hard about how best to teach this vital concept. The challenge seemed so daunting because our friends saw themselves as recipients and not participants in ministry, plus they had the idea of a minister being a paid ‘player’. Eventually we arrived at the idea of ‘responding to God’s call to kindness’. People who would resist owning the title ‘minister’ could enthusiastically embrace the concept of kindness. This is now a hallmark of our community.
As we launched Street Hope Saint John this idea of a community being called to service remains key, and is a distinctive part of who we are and it guides what we do.
With this in mind I am really pleased to be reading a new book by one of my favourite authors, Reggie McNeal. Reggie is a folksy and highly accessible advocate for the Church, he so deeply loves, to become more missional. In his new book “Get Off Your Donkey”, he calls the Church to action. “It is time for all of us to get up off whatever we’re sitting on and help somebody!” He writes “The leadership by pontification and moral snootiness of the last few decades resembles the Pharisee religion that Jesus detested. We might as well try it his (Jesus) way!”
I love to read. I often read things that challenge my perspective but I particularly enjoy reading someone who affirms what I have intuited all along. This is a great read and highly practical. I recommend it both for your Lenten reading and especially for your Lenten practices. His obvious fondness for the Church and his self-deprecating humour set him apart from other earnest proponents of missionality but he is no less radical in the call to ‘follow Jesus’.