My friend and colleague, Rev Darren Middleton recently appeared on national television because he has taken up hair dressing. Darren’s passion is to use his craft to connect to people, to give them a safe space to talk, and a moment in time where they feel pampered and cared for.
A Methodist Minister plying a secular trade in a salon was something that caught the attention and imagination of the media. It has me wondering. Why is the idea of a minister connecting to people outside of church in a meaningful way so remarkable – so unusual – that it has made national tv?
I found myself reflecting on the words that gave the church – the followers of Jesus – their mission in the first place: “Go into all the world… and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19). This is a challenge for us as twenty-first century Christians, especially those of us who have been long-term members of established churches. It becomes easy for us to focus more on what we are doing at the church building (often for just an hour or so a week) than on the way we relate to the community around us 24/7. It’s almost as if we have re-written the Great Commission to be “Go to church… try and get people to come to you… and then make disciples…” But no. Jesus wants us to go out into the world around us, to go where the people are, not to expect them to come to us.
That is why I find Darren’s story so inspiring. Darren mingles in the salons of our community, meeting everyday people where they are, and everywhere Darren goes, God is there. The light of Christ shines in and through Darren as he demonstrates love for neighbour in his own unique way, using the gifts and skills God has given him. It makes me wonder: where is God calling me to go and use my own unique skill set to share the love of God in Christ?
And you: where is God calling you to “go and do likewise”?