Not this ministry year – not this time around…

How will your next ministry year be different than this past one?

In fact, how will this year be different than any other ministry year in the past?  Could it, perhaps, be an exceptional year?  After a year of pandemic and coming to understand the body of Christ in new, digital-first ways, what could this next year be like?

In certain denominations of the Christian Church, July 1 is the start of a new year of ministry.  This is certainly the case for United Methodists of which I am one.  And, many like to mark the occasion with a time of reflection as to what this new year will be like – kinda like new year’s resolutions.

So, here’s one idea for your consideration: this year, you will work on learning more about, doing something, or becoming someone that you usually deem unnecessary.

Thinking about yesterday

Everyone lives by patterns or a pattern.  This is the result of both a personality that forms as well as adjustments to life circumstances.

But, in Christian ministry, especially that of institutions with unchanging structures (ie. committees, orders, etc.) and cycles (ie. liturgical, appointment, etc.), the pastor’s pattern can become as entrenched as the Church’s.

There is no judgment about this.  It is both about conviction and optimization.  Our seminary process presumes that we will form a thesis about ministry, as well as our calling, and spend our life proving it right, defending it.  And, congregational life is such that, after time, we find ways of tolerating and surviving through certain things about it.

Thinking about tomorrow

Still, we must not shy away from the sense that our patterns produce similar results.

And so, we must ask: are those the kind of results that this year of the world needs?  Is who we are used to being the kind of minister that for which this time of human history is calling?

Racism, poverty, and an overall discomfort with new normals – the opportunity is certainly there (and here), now.  This can be the year that ministry becomes the solution for the world’s conditions.

Perhaps this new era can start with a 15-minute audio retreat session below…

James from PASTORIA
Head of Guidance