Filling out reports seems to be a lot of what we do as clergy. Fear not, your Superintendent gets his or her fair share of reports as well. Someone somewhere always wants to know what is going on in our ministry. There are the reports regarding our Vital Signs and Vital Congregations. There are the reports for End of the Year and our beloved clergy evaluations. Not to be forgotten are the very important Charge Conference reports.
We can become so cynical with all the paperwork due, but I hope that you have not forgotten a very important point in all this reporting. Each report talks about a real person who has had an encounter with the living Lord. It is so easy to forget that fact with all the due dates and the reminder emails to 'get er done!'
We are called by God to make disciples of Jesus Christ so that the world might be transformed. No, reports won't make a disciple (at least I can't imagine it doing so) nor will they transform the world, but it's the stories therein, the numbers listed and the names placed in print that tell of transformation. They help us also see how effective our ministry has been and where we need to give more of ourselves and our energies.
This year the reports show that North Georgia declined in worship attendance and professions of faith. Now, we did well don't get me wrong; I'm praising God for each life that has come into the Kingdom and that is present Sunday through Saturday in living the Christ way. We did great things, and these lives show it. But, we also must be honest with ourselves and see that we need to give more (maybe we have given all we got ... but we can pray for more) of our heart and soul to bringing people into a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the most important thing we do as clergy. We help open the door for children, youth, and adults to know the love of Christ. While there are other big issues that must be addressed and dealt with, this is most important.
I want to encourage all of us (even me in this part of ministry that seemingly does little to advance the kingdom at times) to give your all this year. Let's create worship that people can't wait to be a part of and to share in as we gather Sunday to Sunday. Let's preach with our hearts open, let's live our lives so others might know Christ in us, and let's build relationships with those who need a relationship with Jesus.
Then we can give thanks for each report where we share the amazing work of Christ among us, through us, and in us. God is able if we are willing.
I'm just thinking, but it is also what is on my heart.