I believe that it was wise to receive this input before the opportunity to vote up or down on this proposal. The team that is working on considering this transition has a great deal of work still ahead. I was most hopeful about the openness of sharing the responses to the vote. You can find all of the open ended responses online here. I read through some but not all of the comments. For me, the willingness to share these responses is a positive sign. I am confident that the transition team, along with those addressing some of the technical changes will be able to move forward in a way that will bring positive change across the area.
How do you do evaluate the programs and ministries of your local church? It is part of my life in ministry to always ask the question – How could we improve? A time of reflection, evaluation and planning to improve is important. What I had not considered carefully before was evaluation that lead to an ending. This is not just asking – How could we improve? Instead it is asking the question, “Do we need to be doing this any longer?” This could be connected with my earlier post about strategic pruning.
How do you evaluate? Does your evaluation lead to cuts?
It is important to attend to seasons of work and rest. I am aware of this across the course of a year. As a pastor, there are seasons of the year when I will work many more hours in a week than others, for example – Easter and Christmas Eve. I have become better at paying attention to these ebbs and flows. What I realized on this retreat is that this is true across the course of a week and a day as well.
In a week, there will be days when work is more and less intense.
In a day, there will be hours when work is more and less intense.
From your experience, have you found this to be true? I would be interested to hear more – yes or no.
John Wesley focused on outcomes and fruitfulness in ministry. He initiated practices in his ministry and among Methodists which he saw bearing fruit in God’s kingdom, despite the fact that some of these practices did not make sense to him. Wesley writes in his journal in 1739:
“Saturday, [March] 31. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. Whitefield there. I could scare reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the savings of souls almost a sin, if it had not been done in a church.
Mon [April] 2. – At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile, and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city, to about three thousand people.”
Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about practices that bear fruit despite not making sense to you?