The GMF-UK Chaplaincy is fortunate to have many local preachers actively preaching in many circuits. This series of interviews is intended to find the experiences, views and suggestions of the local preachers. It is hoped that views expressed would benefit preachers on note/trial as well as others who are considering the preaching ministry.
1. Share with us what prompted your call to preach?
I have always been a member of the Methodist Church as my parents were actively involved in the church. In my local church in UK, I have been involved with the children by being a Sunday school teacher-a period I enjoyed very much. Due to my background in accounting and finance, I have been involved with the finances of the church from the local to the Circuit and to the GMF. My prompting to preach however came from meetings with ministers, deacons and deaconess during discussions either at private meetings or in Bible studies. The usual question was why don’t you consider the ministry and my answer would be no, not me. One day Jenny Impey and I had a meeting and the discussion point was John 6- when Jesus talked about His body being the bread of life. After the meeting with Jenny Impey, the usual question was posed and I felt the time had come for me to venture into the pulpit.
2. What is your favourite hymn and why?
My favourite hymn is 524 of the Hymns & Psalms – I need thee every hour. I need God every hour and every second of my life. My journey of life has been punctuated with several downs but with God on my side His grace always keeps me going. I need God every hour because whenever I do feel that I am reasonably secured then something happens to give me a rude awakening that the devil is just around the corner. I really do need God every hour.
3. Who is your favourite character in the Bible and why?
My favourite character in the Bible is David. David lived as a human being who was completely dependent on God even though he was naughty. He depended on God so much that he was able to call God his Shepherd, his Light and his Salvation. When he did wrong he prayed to God with a broken and repentant heart. To him the only thing that mattered was God before any human being.
4. Are you a traditional/contemporary or mixture?
I am a mixture
5. When did you last preach in the GMF service or event?
On the 22 June 2014
6. Any suggestion for the GMF in the area of preaching?
A preaching style on God, Jesus and righteousness with less insinuation would be helpful.
7. What advice/suggestion do you have for preachers on note/trial or those considering the call to preach?
Please pray, pray and pray all the time. Pray for the Holy Spirit to explain the Word to you. Read the books but always pray for God to give you the understanding in relation to the current environment. Only God can give you the wisdom to understand because sometimes the Bible commentaries are very confusing and are probably suitable for academic theologians. However with prayers I find that the words of the Bible are broken down for me. For those considering a call to preach, my advice is that it is a wonderful experience especially the exegesis- the context in which the passages were written and how they are applicable to our lives today. It is refreshing to know the history and context behind the Bible stories.
8. Where and what was the thrust of your last preaching?
The passage was taken from 1 Samuel 24:9-14. Essentially if you listen to what others say, you will either end up chasing a dead dog or at best the fleas on the dog. I ended up saying that in the Kingdom of God no one is indispensable no matter who you are. In the context of calling only God knows why and when we are called to work to his glory. Only God knows the time and the day. My example was Queen Esther. For that reason we always have to act with humility in God’s vineyard.
9. What should be done about the falling church attendance in the UK?
That has been a problem for centuries. The Christian church in the UK has been going through structural changes for a long time. For example the history of our local church is that it started with a membership of 650 a couple of centuries ago. After a while the church was rebuilt with membership of 350. After the war it was rebuilt with membership of 150. There is a structural shift in people’s faith even though the world’s population has been going up. I believe we have to continue preaching Christ even if people are not listening to us or they feel that we are out of place. Remember what God told Elijah when he complained that all his prophets were no more. God said he had reserved 7,000 people who had not bowed down to worship Baal. Ours is to preach and leave the rest to God. People are still looking for a good church to go to hear the Word of God.
10. Apart from the pulpit, where or how do you share the word of God?
I believe that sharing the word is a vocation for life. It doesn’t have to be in the church alone. I believe that when you’re hungry you do not always have to sit by the dining table before you can eat or when you feel sleepy it doesn’t have to be on your bed alone that you can sleep. I believe that by praying and with the help of the Holy Spirit, our lives should model that of children of God and when the opportunity arrives at the prompting of the Spirit we should preach about our Lord Jesus Christ.