When I moved to the Essex borders over 13 years ago my local church was not covered by the Pope, or the Arch Bishop, in fact the overseer was and still is the General Superintendent of the Evangelical League of International Ministries. My impression upon my new church at that time was not a favourable one. They stressed that sports men and women belonged on the pitch, and if you came from the thrones of the theatre then you were be told from start that the church is not a stage – therefore I may not have a part to play here. The idea of travelling from church to church and house to house in order to find spiritual enrichment did not appeal me. So I chose to find my place within my local church; with the intention of leading one day so that I could be an influence. Well, why not? No one was interested in what titles I had won and no one knew or heard of the films I had appeared in; or even if I had won an Oscar. These were situations I have found myself having to accept “keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” 1 Peter 3:16. Having succumbed to the fact that I just didn’t know how sell or deliver my own achievements successfully, I accepted to promote the success of others along with my own testimony. In fact we all have a testimony. After much contemplation I tried to bring to mind those who played a formative part in my earliest years. It quickly became clear that not one of them had status or power within the life of the local church. Yet their influence was immeasurable. I have been blessed by the many guests who have visited my local church. Many of them I knew or still know as sportsmen and women from the film industry who would never have dreamed of being seen on a platform or behind a microphone. Their testimonies left an indelible impression.
I ask myself many a times, what is my role within the local church? And the same answer comes back which is to let members know your place within the body of Christ (which is the Church). The best education I can give is to serve well with all my heart, and all my might. The best education is caught rather than taught. So where does this leave me now? Perhaps to recognise three things:
The first might be to recall and reconnect with those who played a positive role in our lives and let them hear our gratitude.
The second might be to pray for a conduit of affirmation and encouragement in the lives of others.
The third would be that, if ever called to make the choice, always to choose influence over status and power.
An extract from the book “Words Pressed: A Short Biography” (Available on Amazon)