just be yourself!

I was invited to preach at the 8am and the 1030am services at St Margaret’s Rochester today. It’s been a while since I have spoken in a parish church setting and I really enjoyed the experience. People were very kind and seemed very interested in what I was doing.

I spoke about my role, what I was doing and shared some of the stories of the encounters that have occurred and hw the gathering and pub theology has been developing.

Part of the reason, I think, for Father Gary asking me to speak was to encourage people to share their faith in relevant ways. I think I surprised people by what I said … and I think it was a pleasant surprise. I shared that I believed that we do not need to use fancy techniques or have a set formula. I even shared that the word ‘evangelism’ scares me because of what it has become to be perceived as. I believe we simply need to be ourselves and show our interest in other people to allow the Kingdom of God to grow.

I believe as a British society we have lost that interest in our fellow neighbour. So many people wish to tell you about themselves but no one wants to listen to the stories. I shared that I believe part of our mission is to reclaim this interest. ‘Interested is interesting’ is a line from a film I forget but it is very true. Being interested in other people is a lesson that clearly Jesus left us with.

Mission … for me, is about using the gifts God has given so we can be ourselves. For me that is an interest in decent coffee, real ale, films and art and God seems to use those interests. Along with this I am genuinely interested in the stories of other people (maybe I’m nosey!) and like listening to others.

I ended both my talks today with the words of Bishop NT Wright:

Every act of love, gratitude and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or walk; every act of care or nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings, and for that matter for ones fellow non-human creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed which spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honoured in the world – all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation which God will one day make.

Sounds pretty cool to me …(unlike the cartoon conversation from ASBO Jesus!)

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