Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What is ministry?

Something silly leading to a theological question:

I'm filling out a form on a dating website. And one of the questions aks, "What are you doing with your life?" i.e. what's your job? Nevertheless the way the question is asked suggests an answer with a verb, not a noun. And a lot of people choose to answer this question without talking about their paid employment.

So partly because of the way the question is asked, and partly because I think it will put people off to say I'm a minister, I'm trying to think of another way to answer that question.

So what would you say that being a professional minister is doing? Without using the word "church" or "minister" - what would you say ministry is doing?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Community organizer

2:34 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Ministry is doing this.

Sorry. I just couldn't help myself. ;-)

Ministry would include actually *doing* something to respond responsibly to this -

I have posted a "less than diplomatic" rough draft of my open letter to UUA President Bill Sinkford calling upon him to live up to his own religious rhetoric and "choose love" for any and all victims of all forms of U*U clergy misconduct, sexual misconduct and otherwise. I am interested in suggestions for saying pretty much the same thing somewhat more diplomatically but not *too* diplomatically. U*Us and even non-U*Us are invited to make suggestions for improvements by commenting on the blog post itself or sending me a private and confidential email at -

It turns out that the word verification code for this post is angro which might be interpreted as a synthesize of angry and that useful British word aggro. :-)

5:10 am  
Anonymous Tim (S Manc) said...

Community organiser is a good one.

There are a few options:

You could just call yourself a "minister", because wearing a black shirt and dog collar is supposed to make you quite alluring! The down side is that you'll attract people who just want to cross "vicar" off their lists. Naming yourself as a minister could also look like you're trying to be some kind of perverse "Flirty Fish" for the 21st century à la David Berg's Children of God: using online dating sites to spread the Word, lol.

On the other hand, vague descriptions like "a caring person" or "social worker" might have some truth, but they don't really encompass all of what you do, you also might offend people for being initially less than honest about your vocation!

What is a minister? You're a teacher, a student, a writer, a shrink, a mediator. Try putting all of those things on the dating site and see if people can guess what you do.

12:23 pm  
Anonymous Ade said...

Spiritual Consultant ?


5:05 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

OK here's what I've written:

What I'm doing with my life:
Talking to people about their lives, helping people to develop their spiritualities, writing, teaching, creating sacred spaces, leading workshops, counselling people, organising communities, and hoping to change the world, or at least Bolton.

8:36 pm  
Blogger Mogee said...

I have been told that (UU) ministry is "where your burning passion meets the world's great need."

11:01 pm  

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