Well, Day One of the plunge came and went, and none of us were abducted (or worse). Still, street ministry is quite scary - perhaps that's why so few people actually do it.
Having said that, it was quite enlightening in a sobering kind of way, since it highlighted just how out of touch we as a Church are with our surrounding communities. Unfortunately, given the transient nature of the Phase One programme, we would not be able to embark on a structured, regular visitation programme, but this is definitely something on my list for when I am placed in a church for 3 or more years.
Sadly, the "R" word reared its ugly head - some of my black colleagues experienced some difficulty when attempting to speak to white people. I don't know if it is deep-seated racism, or the perception that someone coming to the door is perceived by many white folk to be a beggar or criminal. I guess it may be more of the latter, because the resident minister had no problems of this nature, despite being black. Perhaps having his clerical collar on is what made the difference. Certainly, I felt that there was one home that I would probably not have gained access to if it were not for me wearing clericals. I also suspect that my more "with-it" colleagues will be dusting off their Tupperware this morning!
So on to Day 2. I'm going to enjoy today, because we will be spending most of the day conducting services at old-age homes. I don't know if I've just become aware of this since turning 40, but for some time now I've shown a marked preference for ministering to the "oldies" than to teenyboppers. Already at this early stage of my ministry, I'm beginning to develop a bit of a reputation with my "harem of octogenarians", with my Superintendent (aged 68) only too happy to have turned this side of the ministry over to me. There are two magical words guaranteed to spark off an hour-long conversation - "Springbok Radio" - which (sadly) went off the air 10 years before any of the current teens were even born.
Tomorrow night we'll be ministering to youth - that's when Jenny, Gift, and others come to the fore, and I'll hide behind the sound system and keep my gob shut.
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