Paul Tarrant is a son, brother, husband, dad, granddad, and family doctor in a small town of 25,000 with a 26-year-old Nazarene church now spawning its second and third daughters. He is seeking with his wife, Cathy, to move all kinds of people into discipleship and an effective life mission. Involved in the Church of the Nazarene at local, district, and general levels, his roles include lay pastor and church planter, men's ministry director, and General Board member.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Carlisle, England, raised as a Nazarene pastor's kid in four churches and still chose to join as a charter member in two Nazarene church plants, now working towards a third.
What led you into the field of medicine?
In my grade school years, I was impacted by missionaries David and Samuel Hynd, who were based at the Nazarene hospital in Swaziland. They showed me that medicine, wherever it is practiced, is a ministry touching lives with care and compassion. And possibly, I noticed a little bit of prestige.
What do you see as the greatest need the Church of the Nazarene is facing?
Paul said it right when admonished Timothy to quit useless debate, and get real about refreshing the message of personal wholeness within the loving and compassionate community of God's family (2 Timothy 2:23-25). My time in Nazarene Compassionate Ministry (NCM) showed me Nazarenes need to see 'compassion' has no interest in why someone is where they are-in desperate need or in isolation.
We need to visualize and work for the transformation that comes when the power of God pours His glory into yet another life, and through that life shines into a family and a community.
How can Nazarenes from anywhere in the world better realize a global perspective?
The God who created such diversity planned for the colors and hues of each worldview, and each requires translation by spiritually equipped, locally developed leadership. The First Council of Jerusalem (Eurasia) were spot on when they determined to limit the rules and regulations for new believers and church development.
Our global responsibility is not to impose in another place the strategies that fit our culture. Our global responsibility is to ask, to understand, to validate, and to flex to what fits that local setting. It's true whether we look on the East from the West, or the North from the South. We are to proclaim the essentials of salvation while celebrating diversity in every age, group, and nation, and empowering each local brother and sister.
Coffee or tea?
Yes-at least one every hour.
What are significant questions for a global church?
What is here that differently expresses God's grace, forgiveness, compassion and mercy? How does God want us to reshape the church's approach to reach this people group?
How can Nazarenes everywhere think globally?
Nazarenes need to: 1. Quit dreaming, and focus in on the locality where God has placed each one. 2. Recognize how our local influence already impacts distant communities. 3. Keep missional and alert to where else God is pushing open the doors for evangelism.
My dream destination is the Nazarene church in Timbuktu, Mali, Central Africa . . . but, if it's to be a one-way ticket with a church-planter budget, make it Athens, Greece, please.
What is your greatest fear?
Freefall on the end of an elastic rope. Or not making it to general assembly . . .
People who know better than the doctor.
When I qualified in medicine, Cathy's mum said to me, 'Remember that person in front of you has a mother, a spouse, children, and others who love them, and depend on them. Treat them all like they really matter.' Since then my mindset has been 'You matter-how can I help?'
Holiness Today, May/June 2009