I received a wonderful text during the week in which a church member revealed that their child had described me as the ringleader of the church! I thought this was wonderful. Picture me in a top hat and tails, a whip in hand, as the rest of the church performed in turn as circus acts to the applause of the audience. I wonder, if I am the ringleader, who is the strongman (or woman, let’s not be sexist!) Who is the trapeze artist? The lion tamer? And just who are the clowns…
Having giggled about this for a while I began to think about the picture a little more deeply, and you know what? I came to the conclusion that it’s not such a bad image of the church after all, in fact I really like it! First off, think about the circus. What do you go home talking about? Your favourite act. Maybe an acrobat or animal handler or magician. It certainly wouldn’t be the ringleader – that would be a really poor circus! The ringleader’s job is not the star act, just the one that helps coordinate the whole. So it is with the church. The minister is not the centre if attraction. If any one person is, that should be Jesus. No, the minister is there to help encourage, train and coordinate the church members so that they can do the job that Jesus has called them to. Their act is the main thing!
The acts in a circus are all different too. It would be boring if the performance consisted of one juggler after another. Again, so it is with the church. We’re all called to different roles, some preachers, some tea makers, some gardeners, some school teachers, some civil servants, some musicians and so on. We aren’t the same.we’re all important and valuable. Don’t measure yourself by others, measure yourself by how devoted you are in the roles God has given you in life.
Finally, the circus would be meaningless without the audience. The entertainers would have fun for a while but what would be the point? Surely its the same for us? Are we church for our own benefit or for the sake of others? A former Archbishop of Canterbury said that the church is the only institution that exists for the benefit of its non-members… There’s certainly something in that I think.
On that note, roll up, roll up, and let the show begin!
(Church Newsletter Article 17.07.16)