As we enter a new year, we set goals and reflect on the goals we intended to reach in the previous year. So, how’d you do? What steps have you and your congregation taken toward a more faithful practice of making new generations of disciples? Here’s hoping some of the encouragement and tips I’ve shared have been helpful to your ministry!
I officially launched GrowingRuralMinistries.com on January 18, 2018. In these two years I’ve met or interacted with several of you- my loyal readers, led one workshop, joined the Rural Ministry Now Conference leadership team, had a second workshop canceled due to ice, and I’ve published 46 posts (this makes 47). I’ve also been approved for ordination, which will officially happen at Annual Conference on June 7th, and have begun work on another new thing combining rural and spiritual development in our community.
Have I met my goals? Not all of them, but that’s OK because I know I’m headed in the right direction. I tend to think I can move forward more quickly than reality proves. Yes, that is also reflected in the number of speeding tickets I’ve received. But, what is also reflected in that number is wisdom. I received those tickets in my earlier driving years. I’ve learned to slow down and also leave on time.
Likewise, I’ve learned to set more realistic goals, while continuing to strive for the God-sized vision. As I’ve begun this new project in Bucklin, I’ve been dreaming some God-sized dreams for this community and for the future of my ministry! I’m so excited!
A few weeks after my ordination interviews, I realized something: I had been creatively constipated by that process. When I launched this little side ministry, I was in that sweet spot between confidently submitting my paperwork and the interview. I was free! I was creative, confident, and ambitious.
Then, my process was continued and all of that was bottled back up under the emotional stress and lack of certainty as to what happened. Reality came crashing in on me. Then, I moved to a new appointment and some of that creativity and confidence started to build back up. However, it hasn’t been until this season post ordination approval that I’ve been able to feel so free, inspired, and ambitious as I did two years ago!
Philippians 2:13 reads, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” The Message paraphrase reads, “That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure.”
Is there some circumstance or hard thing that has you and your ministry feeling constipated or bottled up? I pray you can discover it and work through it so that you can be set free again!
As you set new goals for this year and as you take each baby step toward meeting them (including the steps backwards) may you be filled with and sustained by the energy of God at work in you!