What would you put in the Role Description for a Messiah?
I ask the question because - along with all my stipendiary colleagues
in the Diocese - I have been asked to consider drawing up a detailed
Role Description in line with the requirements of Common Tenure
- which for a Priest-in-Charge like me comes into force at the
end of January 2011.
So the Archdeacons have been chasing clergy this month to make
sure we get our paperwork completed.... In fact, as I write this,
I am hours away from a PCC when we will be discussing my own
version of this document in some detail.
I have also just returned from a two-day course looking at the
role of Rural Dean - along with colleagues from Birmingham, Coventry
and Worcester Dioceses, as well as our own of Lichfield. It is
a curious role in some ways - working as a companion to the Archdeacons
and Bishops; concerned with the well-being of our colleagues
in the Deanery; making sure parishes make all reasonable efforts
to pay their way and - where appropriate - make contributions
to the wider work of the Diocese ... and all on top of the work
we already do as parish and sector ministers. Just juggling the
diary is a work of art!
But one person commented, as we were considering the place of
our individual vocation or calling from God, "Remember we
are called to be Ministers, not Messiahs!"
It is well worth reminding ourselves of that whether or not we
are ordained, or serving as 'ordinary' Christians. First and
foremost we are called to be human beings. And as Christians,
to live in community with each other and form good and healthy
relationships. Relationships that need to be nurtured and protected
- before we start doing anything else!
After that we may be called to serve in particular ways - whether
on the flower, brass or coffee rota. Whether as a Welcomer in
Church; whether helping with the Bells Run or on the Social Committee;
whether on the PCC or as an officer of that body: Secretary,
Treasurer or Churchwarden. And some may feel themselves called
to serve in other ways - as authorised Ministers of Word, Prayer,
Evangelism etc. Still others may feel a call to ordination.
One of the key tasks that I - or any Vicar/Priest-in-Charge -
is asked to do is to discern what a person's calling might be,
and to work with them to nurture and encourage it. But I am merely
a minister, not a messiah - so please do not be afraid to approach
me and ask if there is anything you feel God is asking you to
consider or to undertake. Don't leave it to others - even if
you feel we already have plenty of people doing a particular
task - we need more! (Especially people to help lead our prayers
and train to assist me with communion services, whether at 8
or 10am) But whatever your calling, whatever the role, don't
God didn't - he sent his Son to take on the task of saving the
human race.... How's that for a Role Description?
Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Blessed New Year.