When someone asks: “How are things going at church?”, what kind of answer do we give? At a recent pastors’ meeting a speaker asked about how we evaluate our ministry. He said we often fall into the practice of counting “nickels and noses”. That is, we spend a lot of time with the numbers of attendance and contributions, and too often we don’t ask the bigger question: “Are we growing in faith, hope, and love?”
When our thinking becomes limited to ‘nickels and noses’, we risk becoming like the Pharisees that Jesus addressed in Matthew 23:23-24: “‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!”
It’s not that we shouldn’t track numbers like attendance, and giving, but they do not give the final picture of faithfulness. Even when things seem a little chaotic, and when there are questions all around about our direction, I am always impressed by the faithfulness, service, and hope shared in and through this place.
It has been amazing to see people step forward for the GIFT program, sharing talents and gifts to make things happen. We will do well to use this opportunity to get to know more of our church family, focus our attention on ways to serve more effectively in our community and world, and set a course for the future ministry of our congregation.
But most of all, our ministry is to about growing in our relationship with our Lord Jesus. Day after day we are given the opportunity to be witnesses to power of forgiveness, grace, and joy that Jesus brings, and to celebrate the victory of the resurrection whenever we gather in his name.
Pastor John Twiton