It was not long after we had started in Ministries when Gabby and I met in coffee shop just off the M8, pretty much halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. We had come from various conversations and consultations from around the Church. We sat there with our coffee and were fairly overwhelmed.

Stories from up and down the country revealed to us the ever-increasing demands and pressures ministers were facing. And the church’s unique structure made it feel like it was a machine we couldn’t stop, or even adjust without a mountain of unseen consequences. And people were getting lost in the midst of all this work.


In an attempt to focus our conversation, we sketched a quick picture of three circles about what makes up a person in ministry. It was simply to focus our minds; and is clearly, an over simplification of the reality. But it provided us with a reference point to help focus the work of Ascend.

As you can see – the image is essentially three circles. At the centre is the core of who we are. Then we move to the next ‘layer’ which consists of the vocation that we live out: this might include aspects of ministry that we were first drawn to. Then there is the outer layer which is the vast number of tasks that we must undertake to support our vocation.

As with any analogy, it has its limitations, but it gives us a helpful focus. I am sure you will have different themes you could add as additional layers in this analogy such as family, friends or other work you undertake.

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