Following my post last week of the tension I was feeling about interacting with different groups of people and wanting all to feel valued and none to feel I was moving away, a great person took the time to give me a call, to offer advice from her perspective of growing up in a pub with landlords as parents and then praying with me over the phone. It’s good to have such top friends.
The advice, in the main, was to act as a kind of spiritual landlord in the place – being part of many groups but owned by none. She suggested spending time with groups and moving around from one to the other. After praying with me the advice was to take up this challenge and see myself in this role and ‘wander’.
I have been thinking this through and wondering how I could adapt this advice, in a way that is natural to me and the way in which I operate. It may be a surprise to many that I am, actually, quite a shy person and moving to a new group and looking for a way to speak with people is always a challenge. In many ways the sitting and waiting has suited me very well as it means I have to respond rather than instigate. I guess the relationships I am developing now need me to be a little more proactive to show I value the people I have started to get to know. If I now just go and sit elsewhere, or always wait for yet another invite, it will just come across as rude and disinterest.
On Friday I gave it a little try as Friday is a particular day I feel this tension as I have a choice of 4 groups of people I could sit and chat with. I sat with the group of daily’s and mentioned that I wanted to catch up with other people when they came in. I felt this kind of prepared the way for me to be able to move from the group at a later point in the morning. This proved to be the case.
In fact, the advice to move, worked so well that on Friday I was actually in WS from 10.30 until 3 – that’s actually longer than I am in the cathedral for on a Sunday! I only left because I had already agreed to meet someone somewhere else.
It was also helpful to have my friend Nik join me for lunch as this instigated the third move which seemed to produce a surprise as that gave opportunity for a bloke I had only met the day before to ask if he could join us. I look back on the reception I used to receive here, and think this is pretty amazing! In addition, this particular incident reminded me how important it is to be flexible and available – I was just getting ready to leave at 2.00pm, but this guy wanted to join Nik and I and so we stayed for another hour chatting – as I said we could have chatted longer but I had to go and meet someone else (which was also an excellent time and a conversation I felt privileged to be part of!)
I still think this needs more thinking through, but early signs are leading me to think this was quite good advice from my friend who shall remain nameless – but is an excellent youth worker and evangelist based with Chislehurst YFC!