Last Sunday afternoon I spent some time cleaning out my office at church. The most time consuming part of that was going though my files to decide what to keep, what to toss and what to pass on to the next pastor. Sorting through the files brought back a lot of memories. Here are some of the kinds of things I found:
- sermon outlines and teaching materials
- master copies of handouts for meetings and classes
- minutes of meetings
- notes on ideas that were discussed but never tried, and some that were tried and didn’t work out
- documents describing ideas that did work out well, some of which led to key turning points in the ministry
The teaching notes are worth keeping, but the meeting notes are on their way to recycle. As I went through the files I reflected on the hundreds of hours that I have spent in meetings. Topics that seemed vitally important at the time look pretty minor in hindsight. I wonder if we really needed that much time spent in meetings.
The encouraging moments came when I saw the name of a person who had been a participant in a meeting or attended a class and reflected on what that person is doing now. Obviously I cannot keep track of everyone who have been part of CFC over the past 17 years, but there are plenty who have grown deep in their faith and who are serving effectively somewhere. In the final analysis, ministry is not about strategy, plans or policy. Ministry is about people and their growth in Christ (Phil. 1:6-11; Col. 1:9-10). Sometimes we lose sight of that.