Last night Paul went solo to minister at the men’s group of the Elim Pentecostal Church in Burton. Having managed to accidentally drive his company van into an Oxford burn (stream) and knocked it out of commission he had to ride the Triumph hearse combination all the way back. Although a glorious day for a hundred mile fast blast up the A Roads and this particular outfit having the Wasp set up (sidecar racing forks) he was rendered a bit wrecked upon arrival. It is not a good idea to be a wrecked preacher, as you will see.
My uncle Robert always insisted there were no better men’s clothes than at Burton’s so when I was 15 and getting ready for job interviews that is where he had me kitted out. My uncle always referred to ‘The Burton Unbeatable’ and a good few inches around the waist later here I am at Burton Upon Trent Elim Pentecostal Church with the real Burton Unbeatables!
They say that no one bats a thousand and probably due to being wrecked myself I completely miss-timed how long this seminar was going to take. Fortunately for me these gentlemen had also just had long days at work and far too many faggots before the meeting so I was able to carry on to completion while they enjoyed a good sleep. This particular men’s group is well-known for heckling their speakers, but rather than wake them up prematurely I decided to heckle myself. Scary!
Pastor Rob Styles, or Rab Styles if you are from Glasgow, was my senior minister for a short-term in Wimbledon while I was in training from Elim Bible College in 1988. He has to be the most evangelistic pastor I know in England and it astonishes me that a church of Burton’s size has no other employed pastoral staff other than he. This is a testament first of all to him (no idea how he does it), but also to the elders in the church and it is notable just how strong the men’s ministry is. I know it is not politically correct to say so, but where there is a strong men’s ministry in a church there will undoubtedly be a strong church!
I’ve got to preach in Burton again soon… so this time I’ll be careful to finish a few minutes sooner rather than later! As Jackie Clark the then youth leader in Glasgow told us young fellows 26 years ago, “Blessed are the short-winded, for they shall be invited back!”