Last night (Sunday) when I came home from church at Prestbury Methodist, my wife expressed concern that I was rather quiet (unusual for me, as those who know me will confirm!). And I guess this was probably due to the feeling of uselessness that is slowly creeping over me.
I suppose this is natural - after all, I didn't suddenly "discover" the Church when I entered the ministry - I have a long history of active involvement. Last year, the level of involvement hit the steroids in a big way as I grappled with the rigours of Phase One - academics, attending college each week, and Circuit work which included pastoral visits, numerous meetings, and preaching twice on most Sundays. And I loved it! Especially the Circuit work, where I really felt like a "real" minister doing God's work.
Then came the end of November, and while I was grateful for the break, doing nothing besides conducting two services for the whole of December made me feel like a bit of a spare part.
And this year so far - nothing! Zilch. Nada. Squat.
So if I was leering at Jenny's husband Grant with a tinge of green in my cheeks on Sunday night, please forgive me. You see, Grant's church life didn't come to an end when Jenny entered the ministry, and he has already got involved at Prestbury as a local preacher, dabbling in the sound, and by all accounts having a whale of a time. Jenny and I, on the other hand, are a pair of lost farts in a perfume factory - simply because (a) the seminary year has not yet got going, and (b) we are under instruction not to get involved in any local church for the first quarter (other than to attend worship) because we will only be formally attached to a congregation from April (which may be a different one to the one we are currently attending).
But today I started to feel useful again. Deciding this morning that doing anything is better than hanging around doing nothing, and seeing as the SMMS staff are running themselves ragged trying to get everything ready for the start of lectures on Wednesday, I volunteered my services in the admin office. Granted, drawing up class lists is not exactly the most exciting job on earth, nor is it exactly rocket science, but I was grateful nonetheless to at least be able to take some load off Ross and his staff.
And tonight I've managed to put another decent dent into a project that I'm currently busy with, together with the Methodist Connexional Office, which is looking at the implementation of the 2009 King Report on Corporate Governance (King III) in the MCSA.
So as I write this, I'm feeling a bit worse for wear (12 hours staring at a PC screen does that to you), but I'll go to bed with a smile on my face, knowing that I can still be useful!
How should we pray? - Luke 22:39–46 - *"Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that ...
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