“That’s the way to do ministry,” my wife said as we descended the steps of Belfast City Hall.
We had just left the then Lord Mayor, Belfast’s leader. I too was impressed by what I had seen but I was still a bit peeved.
We had been in the City Hall for an event in the 4 Corners Festival. Hosted by the Mayor we had given 80 of the city’s homeless a banquet in the plush surrounds of City Hall. It was my first opportunity to watch this Mayor at work and it was impressive as he spent time at every table, engaging, charming, making the homeless feel special.
After the event the Mayor rushed off to another engagement with some international delegation. However, at 9 o’clock he was back. He could have gone home after a long day but no. The volunteer waitresses at the banquet were from a Woman’s Group in a Methodist Church. They were from the other side of the Belfast political divide from the Mayor. Yet, the he was back specifically to give them his time. He took them into The Mayor’s Parlour where he gave them a fascinating tour and upped his charm by giving them all a flower from the arrangement on his table. If they could have voted that night those women would have marked an X for the traditional enemy.
The entire evening was leadership that inspired. We had watched the first citizen humble himself to literally serve across class and political boundaries. He is a man who claims to not have any faith and yet that evening he reminded me of Jesus who modelled leadership by humbling himself to be born in straw and die on a cross. The first in the Universe becoming last so that those who were last could become first.
When the leader gives of him or her self to serve others then the leader changes the world that he or she leads. And we are all leaders. Today we lead in our world, in our family, on our street, in our office, in our school, over our cup of coffee. As I go into today I will be remembering my wife’s words, “that’s the way to do ministry.”