I have been pondering this decision for a while and then today it happened.
I went for a surf at a little wave just a short walk from home. I’ve been there twice now and had some very nice waves. Today I waited for the crowd (5 blokes) to go home and then at 4.30 I put on the wetsuit and hit the beach.
After 15 minutes of lone surfing another bloke paddled out. We got talking. He has lived in Yanchep all his life – all 45 years of it – and he knows the area pretty well so it was good to get some inside knowledge on the break and on the area in general. We talked surf, family, life in general and of course work.
‘So what do you do for a crust?’ he asked.
I’ve always answered this by telling people I’m a Baptist minister but I’ve been wondering what impact it has on a relationship to immediately be suddenly faced with a religious leader. I am wondering what images that conjures up in people’s minds. Is it more helpful to ongoing relationships to introduce myself as a retic bloke?
I have no qualms about who I am and what God has called me to do – a backyard missionary / apostle is still central – but try explaining that to a bloke out in the surf.
So I’m experimenting again.
These days I will be introducing myself as a retic bloke and along the way as people get to know me they will learn that I am a Jesus follower who leads a Christian community. Previously the order was reversed but I don’t think its any issue as to what order they get revealed in.
I imagine this is what the people in our churches do all the time – those who aren’t paid religious workers – so I’m interested to see where it goes and what I learn along the way.