… being in ministry is like knitting a sock in public.
- When some people see the sock/collar, they come over and want to know what you are doing and why. They ask questions and you get to evangelise about how great knitting/Christianity is and why they should totally join in. Other people look over and think it is just plain weird and avoid any sort of contact
- The sock is a UFO – an unfinished object. So is my ministry. (The analogy falls down somewhat here since I hope one day soon to finish the sock, but ministry will carry on for the foreseeable future)
- Each individual stitch looks somewhat unimpressive and it is difficult to see how it fits into the bigger picture, but it is essential for how things turn out. Each individual encounter with another person, even if only passing on the street, contributes to building up relationships that may be essential in the future.
- You need 5 needles to make a sock. Each needle will be used at some point for knitting, but at other times will be just holding stitches or even back in the needle case. You need a variety of skills to be in ministry (e.g. sermon writing, listening, praying, leading, practical stuff), but you don’t use all of them all the time.
- This sock has been designed by cobbling together ideas from various different books – it may turn out the way I intended, or it may end up different. In either case it will be complex and useful. This ministry has been planned by cobbling together ideas from various different books – it may turn out the way I intended, or it may end up different. By its nature, ministry is complex. I hope I will be useful to those around me.
So, a simile stretched to breaking point there. What do you think?
With thanks to my IME group for the inspiration for this post. IME is basically the compulsory training for curates in the first 4 years after ordination. We were told to bring something representative of our ministry – I had forgotten to prepare, but took my knitting along, thinking I could probably come up with something.