By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

What Do Ministers Do All Day?

Apart from posting twaddle on their blogs of course.

An interesting conversation with one of the toddler mums this morning, who asked me this question but didn't give me the opportunity to answer!

I did wonder if she twigged that the conversation we were having just might be part of the answer.

The conversation made me think - another part of what ministers do all day - about how the church, and even Christianity, relates to her and others like her.  This was a very intelligent young woman, her father a theology lecturer, her grandfather and great-grandfather clergymen, and she had been brought up in the church.  She spoke of recognising a void in her life, of her innate spiritual yearning, of her guilt at having left the church, of her struggle with committing to any particular faith, of her anxiety that her child was missing out, of her fear of what church might be like (physically cold, old people, condemnatory attitudes) and a longing to be part of a worshiping community.  All this in five minutes - no wonder I didn't get a word in!

What do ministers do?  Listen to people like this young woman, come alongside them and give them space to ask the questions, avoid the temptation to offer trivial responses, go away and think and pray about just how the church might respond creatively, authentically, open-handedly.

There are no quick answers.  Building relationships takes time (and every week I have to explain to someone that no, I'm not one of the mums!) and risks rejection or misunderstanding.  If I can help these parents (we do have one dad) to feel that this is an OK place to be, that actually we do care about them and are interested in them, then maybe more good conversations will follow and one day I will be able to offer useful answers to 'what do you do all day?'!


  • Hi Catriona,
    Just be encouraged that your young mum's group think you are one of the mothers and not a grandmother!
    Richard Malin

  • Because some of us ministers actually are grandmothers!

  • So here's the thing....

    I am old enough to be one of the grandmothers


    Some of the mothers are not that much younger than me


    Just maybe I look young enough to have a toddler!

  • My daughter was asked by schoolfriends if I was her grandad.


    My wife has been mistaken both for her younger sister's mother and for her youngest sister's twin.

    Everything's relative. It just isn't clear which relative.

  • Sounds like my family...

    Some people thought my Dad was my granddad
    Someone once asked if my mum was my sister. She was pleased... nuff said.

The comments are closed.