We are in conversation with Mark Ryan, Pastor of Birmingham City Church.
Mark became a Christian in the mid-70s through an R.E. teacher who was the pastor of a small Pentecostal church.
Mark’s interest in Christianity grew as his class worked through the gospel of Luke in school, and it was after Mark got invited to church by his teacher that he made a decision for Jesus.
He shares a strange encounter with God when he was filling in a survey about whether to go into Christian ministry, which convinced him that he was called to it.
Mark went to bible college and on from there to lead a number of different churches in his journey of ministry.
He explains that strong and good older male role models have really helped him move forward in life, and that he has always felt God’s pleasure over him as his heavenly Father. He also describes a deep reverence for the holiness and majesty of God too.
Mark’s connection with his own father was interrupted because of some absence overseas through work, and then through his premature death with Mark was only 8.
Mark describes his current teaching season from the book of Nehemiah, and points out that sometimes we all just need to respond to the needs of the hour more than always being able to operate in our main gifts: jewellery and perfume makers help Nehemiah by mucking in and reconstruct the walls.
Mark also counsels wisdom from Nehemiah about how opposition to us works – often there will be a surface reason, and then underlying reasons. We need to develop a reflective capacity to see what’s really going on.
Nehemiah was also able to avoid distractions from the rebuilding work at hand, staying fully on purpose, just as Jesus saw through his calling to completion on the cross.
We chat about Mark’s new book called The Pastor’s Soul Care, which he wrote in response to all the pressure that church and ministry leaders have been facing as a result of the pandemic. Through the book, Mark highlights a few key areas to help pastors have clarity of thinking and keep them functional. Do what you know to do, and do it well; and make sure you’ve got some friends around you helping you. You can order the book from www.pastorssoul.com, and you can also access some free downloadables for leaders there too.
Mark identifies strongly with the story of Saul, David and Absalom, and in particular David and his mighty men. David had the patience to wait for the right moment, even though he was anointed and even though he was in the right. Being able to wait is a real key to manhood. And a great insight for men is to know which leaders to coalesce around, just as the men of Issachar did.
Following on from the observation that Saul never really tackled his insecurities, Mark gives some great wisdom on how blokes can face their insecurities: always get something from God in our time with Him; and then also make sure we have a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy in our world. The ‘Paul’ person gives us something to look up to; we can relax and connect with the ‘Barnabas’ person; and helping the ‘Timothy’ person is a great and godly model for us all to heal our insecurities.
We play Spin The Wheel, which brings up App and also Food/Fitness. Mark highly recommends the app What3Words. For fitness he also advises blokes to get the right kit to support any fitness endeavours, and to avoid snacking.
Mark closes in prayer for all the blokes listening – great conversation Mark, thanks!--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elim-mpower/message