Finding a Home in Jesus
By Rev Charles Maasz BSc Hons BD Hons, CEO Glasgow City Mission
Some will have noticed that I have rather embarrassingly written a load of incidental prefix and postfixes along with my name and job title. I have never done that before and I may never again however I did so because no matter what it means to others (nothing much I hope), each of letters represents to me personally a triumph of unspeakable proportions. By the time I was about 14 I’d disengaged from much that was going on around me. Feeling myself being left behind by my peers who all seemed to have a sense of where they were heading, what they were doing, and the application to get there. I had none of that. The accumulative effect of my life to that point was already bearing down on my spirit like lead on my back. I gave up really, though I didn’t have the language for what I was going through internally. Once in work I worked hard, very hard, but then after a relationship breakdown during which I left my partner and child I became a dissolving mess. I stole from people who trusted me, lied, cheated, lost my way and found recreational escapes of every type. All to fill a void I didn’t know existed and could not describe. In the end I wound up without a sofa to sleep on and without the money for rent, no job and rapidly losing my mind – I was homeless. Bristol 1997, I was recommended a charity to go and see, they would bond a deposit to get me a flat with a registered landlord and I was given a lifeline. No curtains, bulbs, furniture, bed, nothing.
But I had a key and I had a chance.
At the same time that the church came into view, some divine interventions later, and a framework of support, love, faith, and discipleship permitted me to let go of the wreckage of my old life in order to grow again, be ‘born again’. By 2000 I had enrolled in university on the credentials provided by ‘life experience’ and a paper I had written. Four very hard years of children arriving, family sickness, working at night, but it was the first thing in my life that I ever finished. The achievement was not the degree, it was the fact that I saw it through and nobody could take it away from me. Some years later I enrolled at the Baptist College to embark on a second four-year degree full time, I went before the Board of Ministry, embarked on a journey with the Glasgow City Mission. I am now many things, I am proud to have a home as a Chaplain within the Baptist Union of Scotland, which is massive in my life. All that said; essentially I am still a guy who knows what feels like to have been left behind and spat out, to have failed, failed others, and be broken. That is my true qualification. It is the foundation stone of the ministry the Lord has given me.
The 10th of October is World Homelessness Day and we thought we would invite Charles Maasz, CEO of Glasgow City Mission and Baptist Chaplain, to reflect on his experience of homelessness, finding a home in Jesus and how this has shaped his life and his ministry.