I want to suggest the importance of including festivity as part of ministry. We can perhaps put this in terms of thinking of Jesus the party-goer. Jesus was often to be found sharing food with others. His first miracle was at a wedding when he turned a large quantity of water into a large quantity of wine. He was criticised for the fact that his disciples feasted while those of John the Baptist fasted. He often used parties and banquets as ways of describing the Kingdom of God.
Our leadership, if it is to follow that of Jesus, needs an element of celebration. Jesus tells us that he came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. A good Christian leader will be proclaiming that message. The Christian Way can be portrayed as a way in which you are given a list of things not to do. That is a negative approach. We need to be positive. The Christian is depicted in the Gospels as being an invitation to a party – and it is a party to which everyone is invited.
The famous Christian leader, Brother Roger of Taize once said: “Restore to pastors a spirit of festival.” When we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion, of course it has its solemn moment – but we are always leading our people in what I often call a “celebration” of Holy Communion. So how, as leaders, can we make sure our worship, and our life in general, has that note of celebration?
How do we demonstrate God’s welcoming love?
(These ideas were sparked off by Andrew Mayes' book "Another Christ: Re-envisioning Ministry" and are just one of a number of aspects of ministry that Mayes explores.)