Wednesday, August 5, 2009

God is at Work, HMMMMMMMMMMM

Last night we had a good but difficult Finance Committee meeting. We are so far behind on our budget right now that...well, you get the idea. One of the most helpless feelings I ever get is the feeling of watching budget numbers deteriorate. Week after week to watch them slide downward gives me a "sinking" feeling.

On the whole, Finance Committee people are doing a great job trying to move the ministries of the church foward while at the same time trying to stop us before we go over a cliff financially. Don't get the wrong idea. We do have reserves, but you can't spend those down every year and keep losing money.

We are faced with living through the harshest reality that we've faced in this country in a while. A number of our members have lost their jobs; some will have to relocate to find work. Others feels the pinch at work. While they haven't lost their jobs they have been cut back some. So, they do the best they can.

My challenge as a pastoral leader is to be realistic on the one hand. Yes, we are behind. We want to be good stewards of what we have. And, we have to let others know that we are struggling to decide about staff and other things as we start up the pledge campaign for another year.

As a pastoral leader, I also have to hold up our calling to make disciples of Jesus Christ. How can we in bad economic times continue to do what God is calling us to do on less? How can we continue to go out in ministry to others and not let this drag us into using it as an excuse to do nothing?

This morning, I head God's word in my devotion. Philippians 2:13. It says: "God is at work in you to will and to work his good pleasure..." OK. Even in the mist of this turmoil, maybe especially in the midst of this turmoil, God is still at work in me, in you, in all of us, to work his will.

Don't be discouraged. Trust God. Right?
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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