I find myself in the rather obscure enigmatic world of ecclesiastical title searching in lots of ways these days. Hang ups about pinning down whether I’m ordained or not, qualified to ‘lead communion’ or not, and various other discussions which make me smile. ‘In house’, of course, this stuff matters to some people in order to keep the ecclesiastical ying and yang in perfect balance.
But lets get perspective. It makes little difference to people ‘out there.’ People have no interest in whether I’m a vicar, a presbyter, a deacon, a priest, a ‘layman’ or any other such thing. We fool ourselves into thinking the opposite is true sometimes. They do care if you can inspire them, lead them, befriend them etc
I am willing to be all things to all men. So often our point of reference as a church is exactly that…church. But our key point of reference should always be mission that comes out of our life in Christ. If our Christology shapes our missiology and those then inform our ecclesiology, we are in a much healthier place. The other way around, its just trumping through bogs which are irrelevant detours in the wider scheme of things.
Who am I?
I’m an ordained and covenanted priest in the priesthood of all believers which is the laos (the whole ‘lay’ people) of God; a deacon and servant of the church and the poor; I’m a minister of the Word and of the Sacrament which is the Lord Jesus himself; I’m ‘padre’ to many spiritual children that I’ve had the privilege of fathering and to those still waiting to be born; I am Captain-in-Permanant-Exile to many others; I’m an elder exercising leadership and oversight of some of God’s people; I’m an apostle pushing out the people of God into new places; I’m a pastor to those who need it; I’m an evangelist and disciplemaker, a teacher of faith; I’m the uncomfortable prophet; I’m the introverted reflective theologian and the extroverted preacher; I’m a brother and comrade to my fellow missioners; add ‘ragamuffin’ into the bargain.
I wear uniforms and collars and t-shirts and kilts and jeans and suits and chinos and crosses and eppaulettes and hats and caps and coats and hoodies and….anything which will give Jesus a hearing.
Good old Myers-Briggs: I’m an INFP just out here in my lonely 1% of the world population just doing my healer-idealist thing on the edge of the universe, orbitting the giant hairball just passionate about seeing people grow, seeing the Kingdom grow and trying to embrace and invite as many as I can.
…but you can call me Andrew…most people do.