Tomorrow I will be having my first ‘annual review’ with two of the leaders in the church where I minister. It is useful to pause and take stock from time to time, so here are three reflections on how the year has gone…
- Prayerlessness. I am saddened by how poor my prayer life has been: by how often I pray as an ‘add on’ rather than soaking everything I do in prayer; how quick I can be to criticise and how slow to pray; how shallow my prayers often seem. Please pray with me that I would become a man of prayer. I am seeking, with God’s help, to make changes both in my family life and in my ministry.
- Study-boundness. I have been surprised how easy I have found it to ‘hide away’ in the study. I am an extrovert and a people-lover – so I had expected to spend more time than I have actually managed out and about with people. I am convinced that the work in the study is vital – but I am also convinced that we need to be spending time with people to understand where they are coming from in order to apply the Bible more effectively. Please pray with me that I would get the balance right.
- Tendency to under/over-work. One of the greatest challenges as a pastor is that you manage your own time and that there are few ‘hard’ measurable outcomes (apart from a sermon here, and a talk there etc.). At the same time, the kind of tasks that we are involved in will all suck up as much time as is available – that goes for both study and for time with people. I seem to have oscillated between spending too much time working (and not enough time with family etc.) and not enough time working. Finding that middle path is challenging. Please pray with me both that I would understand my identity in Christ is not bound up in how much or how little I do, but also that I would have a godly desire to work hard as for the Lord.
I’m sure that I am not alone in these failings. Why not pray for your own pastor in each of these areas – that God would equip them and give them wisdom as they seek to shepherd His people.