While there are an incredibly diverse combination of personalities, gifting and experience, I believe that at heart everyone is an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor or a teacher, and that when we surrender our lives to Jesus’ rule, he gives us as gifts to his Church to serve in particular roles within the life and witness of the community of faith.
And even taking into account the diversity of personality, gifting and experience, these five fundamental types will engage with waiting in different ways – and need to, especially where they find waiting hardest, in order to be more fully formed.
Apostles are those charged with the role of birthing the new thing that God is doing in a given place, among a particular community. As such, apostles are motivated by the urgency of the immanent coming of the kingdom, just as Mary would have been very aware of the impending arrival of Jesus, just as expectant parents feel the pressure to get everything ready and the excitement of not-being-able-to-wait to see this new life that is coming into the world. And yet, wait they must – and realise that they simply won’t have everything ready, or at least, things are unlikely to go to their neatly made plan. The birth will take place in God’s timing, God in partnership with the baby as much if not more so than with the mother. All those Old Wives’ Tales for bringing-on labour are simply that: Old Wives’ Tales. Premature birth brings with it major complications, and long-term disadvantages.