‘So what do you actually do?’
I felt the force of her question. To a church leader, it’s like the conversational equivalent of a kick in the nuts. When you ask a Vicar what he actually does, you don’t do it because you’re fascinated, you do it because you’re suspicious. You can’t imagine for a moment that he could be busy. Most of the churches are empty. It’s a one day a week job. And you could train a Monkey to run services. And they’d probably do a better job than a few church leaders up and down the country! But the week has seven days. This is a man with a good work life balance she thought. I could tell. I’m good with non-verbal communication!
I began by wanting her to know that lots of time was spend in the study praying, preparing and writing talks, there were groups to run, we trained a load of ministry apprentices each year. And on I went. But then I decided, just this once, to suppress the desire to defend my existence. The feelings of self justification would just have to be suppressed. It was interesting stuff, no doubt. I like to think that very little of what I say is dull! But it wasn’t really getting us anywhere. She didn’t need to know why I’m busy. She needed to know Christ. And so, out of ‘nowhere’ came this reply.
‘Mainly I try and keep as much time free as possible to try and persuade people to become Christians’.
Yeah baby! Now that was an answer that got some traction!