November 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

The Church year has just begun with Advent I so now is a great time to make some resolutions that will make parish ministry more manageable in the year to come. Here goes:

1. Making a list and checking it twice. Buckle down and get all the data properly inputted in your parish database program. The Annual Appeal probably gave you some good updates on emails, phone numbers, etc. Also, cull out the entries of people who have not been part of the community for at least three years. Look at where the gaps are and make a call or shoot off an email to fill in the missing information.

2. Clean out the closets. In my first month as rector, I scheduled a clean up day and the first assignment was for the crew to go through the entire building and bring to the altar platform anything they felt wasn’t in its proper place. While this shocked the altar guild, it shook the place out and let us deal with the clutter. Old umbrellas, misplaced prayer books, leftover Easter decorations, stray choir robes, runaway folding chairs all then found their proper place.

3. Go visiting. Every congregation has a number of members who have been unable to attend church for some time. Each deserves a personal visit from the pastor or a church member. Let them know in person you are praying for them.

4. Check the books. Make sure the Parish Registry, the baptism, wedding and funeral books and any other official records are caught up as well as can be.

5. Safety first. If they are not already on a regular maintenance schedule, come up with a plan for fire alarms, safety lights, furnace maintenance, fire extinguishers, etc. Also, find the building plans, make an extra copy and make sure those that need to know can find them.

6. Put a stamp on it. Make up a note card with the picture of the church and start sending a fist full every week. Thank yous, birthdays, “thinking of you”, get well cards and cards for no occasion whatsoever extend your pastoral ministry. Send a few to colleagues as well.

7. Sabbath time. Enforce the 24 hour rule for a day off starting right now. Even a 15 min. phone call or stopping by the hospital will break your Sabbath and deny you the disconnect that parish ministry requires.

There are many more resolutions that I am sure you would love to make. Add yours to this list in the YOUR COMMENT section below.