Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Leading, tweeting and praying

On Sunday I lead the main service for the first time.  I've lead mid-week services, carol services, family services and all sorts but the main service has been something I've avoided.  There's something about the main service which ups the pressure and makes the adrenalin flow way too fast. 

I've had a hard time figuring out why I feel this way but I think I'm finally there; it's because the main service has always been an important place for me to meet God in my week.  I know this is the same for lots of people in our church which means that if I do it wrong then I might wreck the most God-centred part in the way of 100 people.  That's a lot of pressure.

I managed to overcome this for the preaching and will preach at the main service if I'm available outside of children's ministry.  But until this Sunday I had managed to avoid the leading of the main service.  I was just quietly keeping out of the rota and not mentioning anything to anyone.  But then someone asked Neil when I would lead and guess who found herself on the rota.

I strangely didn't mention my fears to anyone, I just put it in my diary and hoped it would somehow vanish.  But then on Saturday evening it all came to a head and this was the tweet which headed into the internet:

"I'm presiding in deacon role at service tom, don't feel called to but it's part of post licensing training. tell me why important for me pls"

On Saturday night I didn't feel called to presiding at all, couldn't find any part of my calling which was asking me to lead the service.  I now know that it was fear that was blocking any sense of God for me, I just couldn't see it.  But thanks to the wonderful ministerial friends I have on twitter I was brought back to a good place.  They shared many wisdoms including:

having a lay person leading a service helps the congregation connect with a service

you have a ministry of service and this is a service for those who come to worship as well as for God

you are called and licensed, God has called you to this, just do it

as an LLM you're leading on behalf of the church and everyone can see how lay people matter to God

I heard these words, I felt these truths and I calmed down.  I needed to get out of my own head about it and just trust God in this new part of my ministry.  I went to bed early, I slept well and deeply and I awoke mostly calm and almost ready.

I was extremely nervous but I also knew entirely that God had me by the hand and the heart and the voice.  I of course made mistakes and certainly the missing of the first hymn was obvious to the congregation, but I somehow didn't get flustered and we sung it in the end.  I will do some things differently next time, but that's just experience and learning.  What amazes me is that I enjoyed it.  I felt so held by God, supported by Neil and appreciated by the congregation.  The church was full of faces which are my family and when I looked at them I knew that they love me and appreciate my ministry.

It's hard to explain what it feels like when a part of your ministry goes right.  It's not the same as the pride and ego which comes from a great success in the professional world.  It's not about proving yourself or proving to someone else.  It's so much more profound than that; it's a deep sense of joy and love which I know comes from God. 
I realised on Sunday that God has a calling on my life which I think I understand, but which I am probably underestimating and will never fully know.  My job is just to follow where He leads, even when that is a mighty scary prospect.  He won't put me in places I can't cope with.  He won't lead me to things that He won't lead me through.  He knows the what and why and how and where and when, I just need to follow.

God even knows that twitter has the answers.
Thank you God.

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