Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ministerial Performance Indicators..

Good morning God,
How am I doing?
I know it's an odd sort of question, but then, it's an odd sort of job I do. When I worked in I.T. I knew how well I was doing - I had all sorts of indicators to help me assess my performance: Salary, level of responsibility, no. of 'projects' completed on time and in budget, and the less tangible but just as essential 'feel good factor' - going home at the end of the day knowing that you have achieved something that other people valued.
A ministry that could be assessed along those lines would not be ministry for me, so how should I assess my ministry?
Should I judge myself according to the number of people who attend Church on a Sunday, or the number of people who have become 'Methodists'? If so, I have failed. Like most ministers I am witnessing the decline of the inherited Church, and I have a perverse reluctance to make 'members' of the Church before making 'disciples' of Christ so I tend to be a little slower at 'bringing up the numbers'.The report card would have to read - 'Must do better'.

Perhaps a more accurate measure might be the level of Godly communication I have helped to stimulate and provoke, or the number of people who attend Bible Study? Well Cafe Church and Heretics Club get people talking - but its such a small number in comparison with the whole Church, and so few seem to want to study the Bible that I'm beginning to wonder if people are reading a different book to me! Here too the report would have to read ' Must do better'

I could, of course, get literal, and assess myself by the number of services I have conducted, the number of pastoral visits I have made, the number of meetings I have chaired and the number of letters, books, tracts and blogs I have written.. At least here the report card might read 'Fair'.

But none of these things even begin to touch how I feel about the role of ministry - these things are just the incidentals, the background noise to the real task of trying to mediate your grace.

So how can I assess how well I am mediating your grace?

It matters, not because I want to defend my ministry to anyone, least of all to you, but because the task is so important. I only know one way of breaking through the barrier that prevents humanity from realising its full potential, allowing it to rise up from its subservience to greed, pain, self-obsession and fear - and that is your grace.

Grace alone has the power to do more than expose how petty our politics are - how self-centred and condescending: The media might make it clear to us how few non-white middle-class, middle-aged, men are involved in government - but it takes grace to enable us to understand and begin to tackle the sins that create and perpetuate this scenario at every level of civic and social life.

Grace alone has the power to open our eyes to the real value of a human life, so that we do not see it terms of how a person 'performed', what job they did, how much money they made, what school they went to, how popular they were, how many friends they had etc etc. Grace grants us the vision to see EVERY life as you see it, worth sweeping the whole planet for, worth leaving everything for, worth dying for, worth living for, because each life is unique - hand-crafted by you. Every life counts.

I really can imagine living in a world where every life counted - but I also know we are a long way from there at the moment.

So I need to know - how well am I mediating your prevenient grace? That grace which first awakens interest in people to your presence and invites them to ask the first question about your relationship with them: Or your saving grace which liberates and energises your people as they begin to realise who they really are: Or best of all, your sanctifying grace that provokes and challenges your people to become more than they ever dreamed possible - to believe in themselves and in humanity - really believe - and LIVE.

It is only by your grace that I am in ministry at all..
So tell me God
How am I doing?

1 comment:

  1. Angie I loved this blog post. Not so long back I typed into Google Search Engine, 'Lord, what do you want me to do?' I had to smile when the answer came back, 'As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you....... My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.' John 15 v 9-12 so there!