When recently-retired Bob Seare walked into Ealing Christian Centre in 2014, he certainly wasn’t planning a new ministry venture. But fast forward five years and the former Irish Guards bandsman – who has previously played in front of the Queen – was asked to start visiting the sick and elderly. Little did he know a whole new outreach initiative was about to be birthed.

Today, Bob regularly visits and prays with the elderly in the congregation. He has conducted dozens of funerals and also prays with the sick.

“I’m no good at small talk,” Bob, 70, admits. “But I believe in divine healing and you never know what God is going to do. That is something that I look forward to. 

“A lot of people are healed. I’ve been praying for the sick for 40 years and seen some incredible miracles, but then I found myself sitting at the bedside of one person and they were dying of cancer. I realised then that it’s about letting God be God. 

“I can be in Wetherspoons with my coffee reading my Bible or in Marks and Spencer waiting for my wife to try her dress on and I’ll pray for people and the Lord will heal them. Then the next day I’ll be visiting the bedside of a believer who is dying. That can be tough. But I love ministering with my friends at ECC.”

And Bob has a novel way of seeing things. “I’m real,” he says. “This is not defeat; this is victory. It’s glorious! Because that person is going home to heaven. “First Corinthians 15:55-57 tells us that death has been defeated. ‘O death, where is your sting?’ That’s become so real to me and to those I’m ministering to.

“I tell people, ‘You’re on the verge of the most extraordinary adventure and are about to experience something you can’t even imagine!’

“One woman who’d not  been given long left to live went from telling me she was too young to die to actually looking forward to it!”

Bob, who works alongside Sharon Grant in the ministry, found himself conducting many funerals as part of his new ministry. “I’ve been there five years now and in one year I conducted 17 funerals,” he explains. “But the more funerals I’ve done, the more I love Jesus. When you’re faced with these things, it’s when the rubber hits the road. You can go to church for years but when you die that’s when it really matters. Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins.”

Bob is now witnessing to a community that he couldn’t reach before. “After all these 46 years of preaching I’m now known as the funeral pastor,” he laughs. “What an amazing Jesus we have!”

Pastor Richard Buxton adds, “Pastor Bob Seare is a valued and diligent member of our pastoral ministry, whose cheerful disposition and ready humour helps relate to people in their season of stress and difficulties, whilst at the same time being able to minister to them out of his many years of experience.”

This article first appeared in the December edition of iBelieve.