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Taking steps of faith

Thomas Baldwin meets Michael Harvey, the chief executive of National Weekend of Invitation.

AFTER 45 minutes in the company of Michael Harvey, I find myself wishing that every member of the Church of Scotland could have the same experience - particularly anyone feeling discouraged or downhearted.

Because there is positive thinking, and then there is Michael Harvey. The chief executive of National Weekend of Invitation doesn’t just shrug off challenges and setbacks, he actively thrives on them.

“I learned in business - love it when it goes wrong,” he says, with absolute sincerity. “Love it when you get a ‘no’.”

Coming from anyone else this could sound like archetypal empty consultant-speak, but from Michael it comes across as a philosophy forged in a difficult early life and successful career, and grounded in a personal theology that sees the presence of God where things are going badly.

“I knew I was on to something immediately [with Back to Church Sunday] because when I went to my first clergy gathering they said ‘no’ to me,” he says. “That was just music to my ears. I’m generally speaking not that interested when things are going right, but I’m fascinated when it goes wrong.

“People might think I’m completely mad, but most of our Bible stories are based on things going wrong. It’s quite obvious to me that God intervenes in the difficult places - has always intervened in the difficult places.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE SCOTLAND 2020 The changing face of Scotland since the millennium CHANGED BY AFRICA Social enterprise group trip to Zambia TAKING STEPS OF FAITH Interview with chief exectutive of National Weekend of Invitation and much more