Interview with Paul Rees on Pastoral Ministry

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CPPL Director Ronjour Locke recently sat down with Paul Rees, Pastor of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh, to discuss pastoral ministry and the challenges involved with ministry in Scotland and the UK.

Some quotes from the interview:

Having served in the States, the UK, and Australia, what are some similarities and differences that you’ve noticed in terms of how we approach ministry?

“Fundamentally, whether you are an Aussie, a Brit, or an American, you’re apart from Christ are spiritually lost, Christ is the only savior, we need God’s Word, we need someone to preach the Word, show us the gospel, Christ is the answer. So, it is just as much a miracle for someone to be spiritually dead to be made alive in Christ in America as it is in the UK. So that is the commonalities.”

“In America, It seems a lot easier to gather a crowd. People were positive to Christianity in a way in the UK are not so much. Nominalism has died really, the numbers have gone through the floor. And very few people would now go to church because it is the right thing to do. It’s a bit of a strange thing to do, and you’re a bit of a weirdo to be a Christian. And you might be a bit dangerous. That’s the new cultural shift.”

“So it seems to me that it might be easier to get a crowd in America than in Britain, but actually in truth, it is just as much a miracle for people to believe and be born again.”

“I found it kind of challenging when I was in Spokane (Washington). I kept meeting these people who thought they were Christians, and I had to spend the first half of my time trying to show them that they weren’t Christians. Then you could show them what it meant to be a Christian. In the UK, it’s a bit quicker, because they don’t think they are a Christian. So, increasingly you have a generation rising up who are completely ignorant. And, I don’t mean that in a pejorative way, they just don’t know. So, they haven’t rejected the gospel, most of them just haven’t heard it.”

The church is not a book club where we’ve just got a curious interest in an ancient book called the Bible. The church is a lifeboat.

What have been some of the joys that you have experienced in the ten years of ministry at Charlotte Chapel?

“It’s the joy of seeing people get saved. I think it’s a wonderful thing that we are seeing people come in the door sad {and} broken, and you see them singing the praises of King Jesus. That’s the joy of seeing lives transformed by Christ.”

How does the gospel message shape a church?

“It’s everything, isn’t it? I think we talk about in membership class your thinking about joining a family that is on mission. The church is not a book club where we’ve just got a curious interest in an ancient book called the Bible. The church is a lifeboat. And [God] has put us in a sea where there’s lots of people eternally drowning. The point is if you want to be a member of this church you need to be on mission with us because we have to get busy. It’s not about how uncomfortable we are in the lifeboat, we’ve got to have that outward look constantly to how we help bring people on board.”


Listen to Paul Rees’ chapel message by clicking here.
  • interview
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Paul Rees
Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

The Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership exists to equip and encourage pastors to lead healthy, disciple-making churches for the glory of God around the world.

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