Reverend Ray’s year-end thoughts for 2014

Minister’s Annual Report 2014

If you haven’t noticed yet, ministers love metaphors and similes—we love, love, love them. While working out one day my mind drifted toward the pending task of writing this report (in fact it was already late) when it occurred to me that church leadership and working out have a lot in common—besides the sweating and the grunting. Both are about building capacity in order to do more work and become healthier. We are all trainers and trainees in this exercise.

Workout programs are designed to challenge the muscles, heart and lungs so that once they recover they are stronger and have more endurance—the next time they are challenged they can do more. The body needs good nourishment and rest in order to recover. The exercise programs must be well designed to achieve the desired results and avoid injury. Exercise programs are a lot of work but they can also be a lot of fun, they bring a sense of accomplishment and the results are usually well worth the effort—a stronger and healthier body.

As the body of Christ we need to challenge ourselves, exercise our gifts, build capacity, discover just what we can accomplish and “get in shape” for whatever God is calling us to. It feels to me that these past two and a half years have been the warm up phase of our program: some gentle stretching and some range of motion exercises, the mat is on the floor, the towel and water bottle are handy and the weights are set out. It feels like it’s time to do some pushups and pull ups—time to move to the next level and challenge ourselves.

This past year we have prepared ourselves for moving to that next level by solidifying and growing our leadership, by developing a stewardship strategy that will gather the resources needed to do God’s work, we have experimented with some small changes that have been successful thereby giving us the confidence to risk again and we continue to mature as a strong, vibrant, caring and welcoming expression of the body of Christ.

We are in a good position now to move out more intentionally beyond our doors and join God in whatever God is already doing and calling us to be part of. One exercise that will challenge and strengthen us is to reach out to Cochrane through a “Free Gospel-ish Concert” in Mitford Park July 12th. The premise is to introduce ourselves to those in Cochrane who don’t know us (more people than you may think) in a fun, non-threatening, accessible and faith-filled way. Visions Country Gospel will be our lead act and provide sound while the rest of the talent will be found “in-house.” The second exercise is to offer a Live Nativity Scene during the Cochrane Light Up to engage with the hundreds of people who participate in that event right on our doorstep and tell the Christmas Story in an accessible and fun way. There are other exercises that are being considered as we seek to be a missional church that reaches out to God’s people rather than waits quietly hoping folks will seeks us out.

So get your track pants and sweat bands, fill your water bottles and tie up your running shoes because 2015 promises to give us a good work out as we seek to be the strong, healthy, confident and faithful body of Christ God calls us to be.

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