As I reflect on 2017, the one thing that stands out to me the most is that my schooling is this close to being done. I was to be finished by December 2017, but one of my classes was cancelled due to low numbers and it was too late to find anything else. So, on January 22, I begin my last eight-week class for my Bachelor’s of Science Degree. I really hit the books hard in 2017 to complete my education. As a result, other aspects of my ministry didn’t get as much of my attention as they should or normally would.
One area was Vertical Focus. You can read my report there for an in-depth report, but my lack of time and energy along with other circumstances contributed to a lackluster year for the kids. My plan for 2018 is much more ambitious and hopeful.
One blessing from attending classes is the endless inspiration for continued studying and immersion in God’s Word. Learning has increased my love for worship planning and teaching. This combined with the help of the Worship Planning team has brought us many cohesive sermon series. I hope to continue this trend as we journey forward in our faith.
I also took the plunge and joined the choir again for the first time since junior high church choir. I don’t fancy myself much of a singer, but I surely enjoy being one of our heavenly host. They have been so encouraging and welcoming of me into their fold.
I must say that I feel congregational care was up a bit in 2017. Although I don’t formally keep track, my mileage reports, funeral records, and familiarity with the hospitals confirms this to be true. It is an honor and privilege to walk with so many of you during your trials. It is truly humbling to be with others in their time of need.
That being said, I was not a model patient at the end of the year as I found myself hospitalized just before Christmas. Although the timing was not good, I’m now aware of some health issues that need to be addresses. It is also humbling to be the patient in the hospital rather than the visitor. It’s good to see things from all sides!
As I begin plans for 2018, I fell like it is a new time. School is done, now I can be a full-time pastor. I’m going to start those long-awaited drum lessons too. For me it feels much like a time when these words from Revelations 21:5 are appropriate, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!'”
God is working to make everything new. And he is continuing to do that work in me also. Praise be to God.