I noticed another funeral directors in the village, so I called in today to introduce myself and offer my services. But how do I introduce myself? I can say I''m an ordained Baptist Minister, which for the present is true, but how do I explain my current situation?
I usually end up going down the route of church planting, but as I've said before, I really don't like that term very much. Too many images of a gathered community singing songs to get me excited. On the other hand, I have no idea how best to describe what the vision is without it sounding like a foreign language to most people. And you can't really tell people you are in a no-man's land sort of place, where you are not supported or, to use that favourite of phrases in church circles, accountable.
I sometimes think that accountable means justifying what you are doing as a valid expression of something. Maybe it's the cynical side of me raising its ugly head, but I find it difficult to be accountable to people I don't think understand the basic concept. A bit mean I guess, but I don't want to have to justify why we aren't trying to gather a worshipping community as our first step.
Maybe it has something to do with the metrics we use to measure the mission of God. Can we change our old metrics for something new, and we can, what would they be? Instead of people in church on a Sunday, what else might we measure? How about the number of people served in some way? By that measure I've served the man to whom I gave a lift the other day, five families for whom I'm leading funerals. Does the man who asked me directions the other count as someone I've served, was that part of God's mission? I don't know. Probably not, he was looking for a pub that had closed down! The girl at the station I met last week, she surely counts. But that was in Bedford, so would that count in the setting of Ockendon?
Interesting isn't it, to think about the things we measure, how we measure and even why we're measuring them in the first place. What I'm trying to do at the very least is to be there when someone emerges from a place of missing so that I can help them get found. At the moment my best opportunity of that is by supporting families at times of loss. Hopefully other avenues will open.
Maybe I should introduce myself as a guide for the missing, a kingdom games maker!