Why Am I a Minister?

Much has been written about Diaconal Ministry by my predecessor Lemia Nkwelah; her article was re-released in the last edition of “In-touch”, and the contents apply to me. I am a Minister - a Deacon with equal ministry to that of the Presbyter and so the question for my article is “Why am I a Minister?”

God does amazingly wonderful things with gentle nudging and before you know it, you are where you least expected.  At this point I have an image of Jesus sitting next to me in front of an open fire, gently smiling and saying “Ah! My sister just relax; I have been with you and will continue to be with you”.

The deal I had with Jesus was to serve His Church and, at that time I knew what that meant for me but, obviously God had other ideas of what “Serving His Church”, meant. So! I served in various capacities:

In my home Church - Junior Church Leader, Youth Leader and Safeguarding Officer

In my home Circuit – Safeguarding lead and Senior Circuit Steward.

In the London District - Safeguarding Committee and Youth Board.

Despite this “service”, there was more! An approach to consider Local Preaching, generated laughter, disbelief and finally an agreement to become a Worship Leader after much discussion.

An approach to consider becoming a Minister led to me becoming the very thing I had resisted – A Local Preacher and then this!! - Ministry!!! Sheer madness!!

And as if that was not enough, my last role as a Church and Community Worker for the Hackney and Stoke Newington Circuit gave me an insight to the joys and challenges of being a Minister e.g. the development of the “Listening Place” a drop-in which serves the needs of anyone living at the margins of society and therefore vulnerable. Next was the sessions with Chatsworth Lunch Club, an established mission of over 40 years that provides senior citizens with a safe place for socialising, exercise and learning.

As I was gently nudged again by Jesus sitting next to me in His chair I yielded, and He has been faithful.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Jesus has stood with me and led me to a ministry which both satisfied my constant desire to relate to all of God’s people and creation; a ministry which means I am a member of a dispersed caring community (Methodist Diaconal Order - MDO) joined by the disciplines of the “Diaconal Rule of Life” which shapes the rhythm of my life in so many different ways; a ministry which has deepened my spirituality and connection to the one who continues to gently nudge me – Jesus!

Becoming a minister allows me to connect with every aspect of God’s Kingdom here on earth and being the voice of reason for those who may not have a voice.

Becoming a Minister means providing a link between those of other faiths and none and openly sharing our views as part of God’s amazing creation.

Becoming a minister encourages me to encourage and walk alongside others whom God is calling to serve his Church. Even when they are dragging their feet and leaving imprints in the ground.

On a very personal note, Diaconal ministry has given me the privilege of entering opened doors to the hearts of people who perhaps shy away from talking about Church; people in the community who do believe but for whatever reason feel that the Church will reject them; people who live at the margins of society and therefore their community – all of them God’s people.

As minister, I will continue to talk about the opportunities Diaconal ministry offers to this Circuit and the wider community and if permitted, I will bring their stories to you and yours to them. At my welcome service I said, “ I will walk with you, if you will walk with me” – I still hold onto those words and so, I pray that you will allow the nudging Jesus to do what He does best which is to be with us at all times – I leave you with Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

For anyone reading this who wishes to have a longer period sitting with Jesus, I leave you with John 15:1- 6 (see below), but for now:

I am Theresa! 

I am a Deacon!

I am Minister!

I am a Servant of Christ!

 

John 15: 1- 6 (English Standard Version – ESV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing


First published on: 24th February 2022