The British Union Conference (BUC) held 'Called for This!', its 2023 Ministerial Council from 28 April to 1 May in Hinckley, Leicestershire, for pastoral workers and their families. Under the leadership of Pastor Sam Ouadjo, BUC Ministerial Association Secretary and BUC President, Pastor Eglan Brooks reflects on the purpose of the gathering.
Pastoral Ministry is a calling. The late Eugene Peterson, pastor and theologian, said, "To follow Jesus implies that we enter into a way of life that is given character and shape by the one who calls us." And for each person who accepts this calling is given a different and difficult brief.
Like Jeremiah, it can be a lonely place and may cry out, "I am the man (woman) who has seen affliction" – Lamentations 3:1. Like Noah, your preaching may fall on deaf ears your entire ministry.
You hear the joys of the young for the new technologies that can enhance worship, like Ezra, but also the mature folks' insistence on bringing back the 'good old days'.
Ministry, like that of Moses, can be a place where you plead with God for the members' souls while they actively seek to destroy you. Like Samuel, your service to others, your sermon preparation, and your attendance at board meetings and visitations, to name a few, mean that you neglect your family circle and your children do not follow in your spiritual footsteps.
As church leaders, our call causes tensions regarding the care and concern for our membership and self-care. During the weekend, we were blessed by the ministry of Dr Nestor Bruno, Director of Ministry Care, and several highly trained therapists.
'Back to the Altar' was the cry of Pastor Ramón J Canals, General Conference Ministerial Association Secretary, who urged the attendees to spend quality time in prayer, meditation, and Bible study daily. Pastor Anne-May Müller, from the Danish Union, in her presentations, reinforced several of the strategic priorities of the BUC.
Dr Prudence Pollard gave uplifting and inspirational messages to the ministerial spouses, and her husband, Dr Les Pollard, delivered the preaching of the Word.
While ministry is challenging, as pastoral workers, we are called to higher standards of behaviour. Ministry is about serving through your anointing, reflecting the rays of God on other people. We are broken, but together in Christ, we find our healing. We need to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
What will it take to make you realise you were 'Called for This?' What else must God put you through to indelibly write on your mind that you are called for this?
In closing, let me quote the Apostle Paul, Colossians 3:17. Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.
My thanks go to the Ministerial Planning Committee, Pastors Sam Ouadjo, Michael Simpson, Dr Hezron Otieno Adingo, Catherine Anthony Boldeau and Abigail Wright-Stephenson.