four years in ministry were spent as an associate pastor. This role gave me a
lot of flexibility and served to prepare me to be a pastor. Often I was
surprised at the cynicism of senior staff members towards an annual
reporting/meeting known as charge conference.
When we finally launched out into fulltime ministry at Berryville UMC, I began to understand for myself why they dreaded it so much. The report itself is fairly comprehensive in nature. It is designed to ensure that buildings are insured, policies are in order, and staff is fairly compensated.
Its that time of year again. Time to get all of the reports together for both congregations' annual Charge Conference. On some levels, the process holds congregations and ministers accountable to the annual conference. It also celebrates ministry that has been done and imagines what lies ahead for the coming year.
This year as part of completing the process, a question was posed regarding the annual parsonage inspection. Typically the Trustees will schedule a visit with the parsonage family to look the property over for condition and necessary repairs. Unfortunately, with the global pandemic, this item of business slipped through the cracks.
There are at least two times each year when our family deep cleans the pastoral residence. Parsonage inspection and Christmas Open House. Thankfully our kids are old enough now to help out with the process. As preacher's kids, they are all too familiar with these annual events.
Saturday, we spent nearly all-day getting ready for the inspection. Working together, we made a couple of small repairs, cleaned out some clutter, and swept out dusty corners. Our kids cleaned out from under their beds where all matter of forgotten clothing, shoes, toys, and candy wrappers.
Sunday after worship, a couple of folks dropped by to do the inspection. Together we answered inspection questions, looked at the property, and determined what needs to be addressed in the coming year. The yard and trees received some much-needed attention this year and are doing well. All-in-all the home is in pretty good condition. We will continue to make small repairs as required.
This morning Samantha made a surprising remark. She said that it was nice that those inspectors looked at the house and were pleased with the way it looked. I understand her feelings of affirmation. Along with the rest of our family, she exerted considerable effort toward getting ready for the inspection. We all want to know that our effort is recognized and appreciated.
Charge Conference is an inspection of sorts. As I continue to prepare reports and record the ministry that our churches have accomplished this year, I want to pause and recognize each of you for your contributions. Ministry is a group effort. It cannot happen without the body of Christ. Each of you made a contribution toward making these accomplishments possible. Thank you for your fruitful efforts and your ongoing support. Well done!
So much has changed this year, and we are doing things in entirely new ways. It requires us to think outside the box, or perhaps get rid of the box altogether. Perhaps some dusty corners could use cleaning out. There might even be somethings that need to leave the building. Some programs might be reimagined and approached creatively. One thing for sure, we must continue to work for God's kingdom. It's been a challenging year, and we still have some work to do before 2020 is in the rearview, but we get through this the same way we began. Together.
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 3:8