I am not a great ideas man, but I am happy to support those who are, to put frameworks in place, work on policy and procedure to facilitate great projects. As well as a meetings man, I am a bit of a techy. Tech support is so often a thankless job. The band stand up the front a get the thanks after the service, while us techies are ripping up gaffer tape, coiling wires and packing away the speakers. And doing the business side can be the same. Very few people stop to thank the person who did the risk assessment, the budget, the form filling. And again, I don’t to sound like I’m hard done by. I don’t do what I do for praise and glory, I do it because it needs to be done, and it is where I can serve the church.
I just ask that people think more widely about callings people can have. Being a Techie can be a calling; being a bureaucrat is a calling; doing the flowers is a calling. And all callings are as important as each other.
He’s right, of course. The church hasn’t always been great at recognising vocations that don’t involve a pulpit or communion rail. ‘EDEV’ was supposed to address this — and I’m sure it could have if we had managed a greater degree of coordination and cooperation across the Connexion. Now the Methodist Church is undergoing a fresh approach to training perhaps this will change. The Conference Agenda 2013 says that
There are a range of lay and ordained ministries, offices and responsibilities which enflesh our discipleship of Christ and make up our church communities – “ministries which enable God-centred worship and prayer; ministries which help people to grow and learn as Christians; ministries which engage with the everyday acts of love, kindness and service of the people of God in the world; ministries which encourage patterns of witness and evangelism” – ministries which depend on one another and which are nurtured by one another to create loving, participative, rooted, pioneering and contextual church communities.
We have asserted that a healthy Connexion is properly a community
of learning where every disciple is learning about their faith and telling
the story of their faith, where every minister is both an educator and a
reflective learner, and where every Circuit is a learning Circuit. We are
reminded of our calling as disciples to be open to learning from a variety of sources, opportunities and disciplines within and beyond the life of the Church.
It remains to be seen if this will mean that Matt and others like him will have their vocations celebrated and nurtured.